MEMC hit by technical hitch at new polysilicon line at Pasadena facility

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MEMC Electronic Materials has said that a production problem at its Pasadena, Texas facility had impacted its utilization rate by approximately 20 percent. The lower than anticipated output would also impact revenues in the quarter.

“It is unfortunate that issues with our new unit prevented us from taking advantage of available market opportunities; however we were able to limit the impact to approximately 10 percent of our targeted revenue in spite of the utilization being 20% lower than fourth quarter levels,” said Nabeel Gareeb, MEMC’s President and Chief Executive Officer.

A build-up in chemical deposits at its new ‘Unit 3’ facility occurred multiple times, requiring premature maintenance to clean and re-stabilize the unit, the company said.

“As of today, we believe we have implemented actions to prevent a recurrence of the accelerated buildup, the new unit is ramping and the overdue maintenance on the existing unit is underway and on track to be completed in the coming week,” commented Gareeb. “We look forward to recovering our production rates and utilization in the second quarter, which should enable our revenues and margins to improve significantly during the second quarter. In addition, our next phase of expansion (to 8,000MT) is proceeding better than previously communicated. This should allow us the opportunity to recover most of this revenue in the second half of the year, but we will have greater visibility and be in a position to provide more specific guidance at our semi-annual update in July 2008,” concluded Gareeb.

MEMC’s Pasadena facility produces ultra-pure granular polysilicon as well as Monosilane and SiF4 gas.

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