MEMC Climbs as Fourth-Quarter Loss Narrows on Solar Profits

MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., the second-largest U.S. polysilicon maker, rose the most in more than a month after reporting a narrower fourth-quarter loss on improved results at its solar unit.

MEMC climbed 7.1 percent to $4.82 at the close in New York, the most since Jan. 3.

The fourth-quarter loss narrowed to $11.8 million, or 5 cents a share, from $1.48 billion, or $6.44 a share, a year earlier related to a restructuring effort announced in December 2011, the St. Peters, Missouri-based company said today in a statement. Analysts had expected the company to lose 16 cents a share, the average of eight estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

The company’s solar unit reported net income of $91.8 million, compared with a loss of $1.16 billion a year earlier when it took a charge of $1.12 billion for restructuring. Revenue at the unit, which slipped to $372 million from $490 million from a year ago, gained 3 percent from the previous quarter’s $361 million.

MEMC recognized $54.4 million in deferred revenue for a solar project in the fourth quarter. It’s sometimes hard to predict when sales for solar farms should be included in the company’s earnings, which will make its results fluctuate, said Chief Financial Officer Brian Wuebbels.

“As we’ve said before, precise timing of product sales is difficult to forecast,” he said on a conference call today.

No Forecast

The company didn’t provide a forecast and plans to discuss its operations in more detail at an event for investors March 13, Bill Michalek, a spokesman, said by phone today.

Providing more information about MEMC’s project pipeline and revenue forecast will give analysts a better idea of the company’s potential earnings this year, said Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus & Co. in New York.

“The cash flow dynamics for 2013, that’s where a lot of the confusion is,” Osborne said in an interview. “The backlog number being down will concern some people, with more speculative projects in emerging-market countries.”

Hemlock Semiconductor Corp. is the biggest U.S. polysilicon producer.

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.