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UBS Upgrades MEMC

UBS Financial upgrades MEMC Electronic Materials (WFR) to buy from neutral.

Analyst Stephen Chin says he sees 300mm wafers (which have higher prices and margins) growing to 20% of shipments in 2006 from 12% in 2004. He sees higher-margin epitaxial/prime wafers growing to 70% of 300mm sales from about 60%.

He says his checks suggest polysilicon and raw material used to make silicon wafers, are in tight supply -- MEMC has its own polysilicon plants, which should drive share gains over those who lack these operations or long-term agreements with suppliers.

He raises $1.02 2005 earnings per share estimate to $1.10 and $1.06 2006 earnings per share to $1.34 on an improved outlook. He raises his $14 target to $17.

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