* Q3 net loss C$0.15/shr vs loss C$0.13/shr
* Analyst forecast loss of C$0.07/shr
* Says making progress in silicon refining process (Adds details)
VANCOUVER, British Columbia , Nov 10 (Reuters) - Timminco Ltd TIM.TO reported a deeper quarterly loss on Tuesday on the back of a continued slump in demand from the solar energy industry.
The Canadian company, which has developed its own method of purifying silicon metal into solar-grade silicon to make solar power cells, said it lost C$18.5 million ($17.6 million), or 15 Canadian cents a share, in the third quarter.
That compares with a loss of C$13.7 million, or 13 Canadian cents a share, in the same period last year.
Sales at Timminco, which also produces silicon metal used in the chemical, aluminum and electronics sectors, dropped sharply to C$19.1 million from C$69 million.
On average, analysts had expected a loss of 7 Canadian cents a share on revenue of C$19.3 million, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
“We continue to make progress in our efforts to meet the higher quality demanded by our solar-grade silicon customers in the current market environment where there appears to be a large supply of low-priced polysilicon,” Heinz Schimmelbusch, Timminco’s Chairman and Chief Executive said in a statement.
He said the company was continuing to refine its silicon purification process so that its customers can produce solar industry wafers and cells that are indistinguishable from those made from polysilicon, a very pure form of silicon that is a key raw material in solar panels.
Last month the company returned to full silicon metal production capacity at its Becancour plant in Quebec after output was curtailed in April due to slack demand.
Silicon metal made up about 65 percent of Timminco’s silicon sales last year but it is a low-margin product for the company. High margin solar-grade silicon made up the remainder of sales.
Shares in Timminco ended down 8 Canadian cents, or 3.8 percent, at C$2.02 on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The results came out after the market close.
Year-to-date Timminco stock has shed about 57 percent of its value.
$1=$0.05 Canadian Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Rob Wilson