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MEMC 4Q earnings beats expectations

ST. PETERS, Mo. (AP) -- MEMC Electronic Materials Inc. on Wednesday posted a narrower four-quarter loss and beat analysts' expectations on an adjusted basis.

The company, based in St. Peters, Mo., specializes in products for the semiconductor and solar industries.

MEMC's solar energy segment sales fell 24 percent from a year ago. Semiconductor materials sales were flat amid a broader industry downturn. Operating income for solar energy moved from a loss of $1.16 billion a year ago to earnings of $91.8 million. Semiconductor materials had operating income of $3.1 million compared to a loss of $61.4 million a year ago. Both segments had hefty restructuring charges in the year-ago period.

The company posted a loss of $11.8 million, or 5 cents per share, for the quarter that ended in Dec. 31. That compares with a loss of $1.48 billion, or $6.44 per share, in the same quarter of the prior year. It earned 8 cents per share on an adjusted basis in the most recent quarter versus a loss of 21 cents per share in the prior year.

MEMC's total revenue fell to $600.7 million from $717.8 million a year ago.

Analysts polled by FactSet expected adjusted earnings of 1 cent per share on revenue of $666.6 million.

The company said it will provide first quarter and full year 2013 outlooks at its capital markets day on March 13.

Shares jumped 32 cents, about 7 percent, to close at $4.82. Its shares haven't closed that high since Feb. 2012.