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MEMC 1Q loss narrows, performance mixed

NEW YORK (AP) -- Silicon wafer maker MEMC Electronic Material Inc. said Thursday that its first-quarter loss narrowed as it reduced expenses.

For the three months ended March 31, the company, which makes products for the semiconductor and solar industries, lost $89.4 million, or 40 cents per share. That compares with a loss of $98.6 million, or 43 cents per share, a year earlier.

Excluding certain items, the St. Peters, Mo., company lost 16 cents per share.

Analysts, on average, expected a slightly smaller loss of 15 cents per share, according to data provider FactSet.

Shares of MEMC dropped 22 cents, or 4.1 percent, to $5.11 in afternoon trading. Over the past year, the stock has traded in a range of $1.44 to $5.70.

Marketing and administration costs and research and development expenses declined during the quarter.

Revenue fell 15 percent to $443.6 million from $519.2 million last year, as solar energy segment revenue declined, but the performance still managed to beat Wall Street's estimate for total revenue of $423.1 million.

Semiconductor materials unit revenue climbed as improved volumes offset lower prices and an unfavorable mix. Solar energy division revenue fell because of fewer megawatts sold, a change in the mix of solar projects and lower solar materials sales.