Updated from 3:38 p.m. EDT

LDK Solar ( LDK) reported a larger-than-expected loss in the fourth quarter following a massive writedown, and shares were dropping Wednesday after the company said the first quarter isn't looking much better.

The Chinese solar wafer manufacturer swung to a fourth-quarter loss of $133.1 million, or $1.25 a share, compared with a profit of $88.4 million, or 77 cents a share, in the third quarter of 2008 and earnings of 44 cents in the year-ago quarter. One month earlier, LDK said it expected to report a loss of $135 million to $145 million in the fourth quarter.

LDK said that revenue more than doubled from a year ago to $426.6 million, but was down 21.3% sequentially. On average, analysts were looking for a loss of 84 cents a share on revenue of $422 million, according to Thomson Reuters.

During the fourth quarter, LDK recorded an inventory writedown of $216.7 million.

"We enter 2009 with conservative optimism," said Xiaofeng Peng, chairman and CEO, in a statement. "In light of the continued economic slowdown and global credit crisis, we recently amended our expansion plans to lower capital expenditure needs in the near term and to better reflect muted market expectations for 2009."

For the current quarter, LDK said it expects revenue to fall in a range of $240 million to $280 million, well below Wall Street's average forecast of $412.2 million. For the full year, LDK said it currently estimates revenue in the range of $1.4 billion to $1.8 billion, compared with the Thomson Reuters average estimate of $1.92 billion.

Shares of LDK Solar dropped 13.8% to close at $4.06. Several other solar-related companies lost ground, as well. JA Solar Holdings ( JASO) slid 7.2%, Evergreen Solar ( ESLR) was down 5.8%, Trina Solar ( TSL) was off 4.1% and Solarfun Power Holdings ( SOLF) fell 3.4%.

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