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A Timminco worker

Timminco Ltd. said Monday it lost $8.1-million in its most recent quarter compared with a loss of $10.6-million a year ago.

The silicon producer said the loss amounted to 4 cents per share for the quarter ended March 31. That compared with a loss of 7 cents per share in the first three months of 2010.

Sales in the quarter totalled $23.9-million, down from $30.8-million, a move the company said was due to a change in accounting methods for a subsidiary.

Timminco produces silicon metal for the chemical, aluminum and electronics-solar industries, through its majority owned joint venture with Dow Corning, known as Quebec Silicon.

Timminco is also a producer of solar grade silicon, using its proprietary technology for purifying silicon metal for the solar photovoltaic energy industry, through its wholly owned subsidiary Becancour Silicon.

"The stability of the silicon metal operations at Quebec Silicon, which continue to operate at capacity, combined with our strengthened financial position, are allowing us to prudently pursue our opportunity in solar grade silicon," chairman and chief executive Heinz Schimmelbusch said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Timminco announced changes to the terms of a long-term silicon supply contract with a long-standing customer to increase prices for 2011.

However, the company said, under terms of the deal, the upper limits of the defined price range for negotiations for 2012 through 2014 have been reduced.

Shares in the company, which reported its results after the close of markets, were up 1.5 cents at 43.5 cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Monday.