MEMC Electronic Materials

(WFR)

doubled its profit but missed Wall Street's first-quarter financial targets because of weak demand and "two specific customer-related issues."

After hours, the shares fell 3.2% to $11.62.

The silicon wafer producer reported net income of $77.2 million, or 34 cents a share, on sales of $257.9 million. During the same quarter last year, MEMC earned $35.9 million, or 16 cents a share, on sales of $228.8 million.

Excluding a favorable tax adjustment worth 11 cents a share, MEMC earned 23 cents a share. Analysts had expected earnings of 24 cents a share on sales of $267 million.

MEMC said that demand weakness was caused by high inventories, but that conditions are improving. Regarding the customer-specific issues, MEMC stated that it has "implemented the appropriate actions and

is in the process of increasing volumes again."

As for the second quarter, MEMC predicted sequential sales growth of 2% to 5% for a range of $263 million to $270.8 million. Prior to Thursday, analysts had predicted sales of $277 million and earnings of 26 cents a share.

"Last quarter we indicated our belief that most of the industry inventory adjustments would be completed in the current spring season," said CEO Nabeel Gareeb. "We continue to believe this to be true. While we continued to see the effects of customer inventory adjustments in the first quarter, pockets of demand are emerging in various market segments and geographies."

He stated that cost cuts will help to offset price weakness that's been brought about by the inventory bloat and that this should enable flat or slight margin growth.

MEMC shares ended the regular session down 4.5% to $11.62.