Shares of MEMC Electronic Materials Inc., the second-largest U.S. maker of polysilicon, gained the most in a week after the company reported preliminary fourth-quarter revenue that exceeded estimates.
MEMC climbed 7.9 percent to $4.92 at the close in New York, the most since Jan. 11.
Revenue was $753 million to $792 million, the company said in a statement today, compared with estimates of $755.3 million, the average of 20 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg. MEMC expects to report a loss of 17 cents to 23 cents a share, compared with an estimated 57-cent loss.
The company ended the quarter with about $586 million of unrestricted cash and total liquidity of more than $800 million, it said in the statement.
“MEMC is a 2012 story with the operational improvement serving as a primary catalyst and market improvement serving as a secondary catalyst,” Hari Chandra Polavarapu, an analyst at Auriga USA LLC in New York, wrote in a research note Wednesday. “Cash flow is the focus and the company delivered on that favorably.”
MEMC, based in St. Peters, Missouri, said last month it will fire 20 percent of its workforce and cut production as prices plunged for polysilicon, the main raw material in solar cells.
The price of polysilicon fell 64 percent last year to $26.52 a kilogram at the end of December. It reversed this year, increasing 4.9 percent to $27.83 on Jan. 9, the first time it rose for two consecutive weeks since Aug. 8.
MEMC will report its fourth-quarter results Feb. 15 after the close of regular trading in New York.
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