* Q1 loss C$0.07 vs C$0.20 loss
* Sales C$30.8 mln vs C$37.7 mln
* Silicon metal facility operating at full capacity
VANCOUVER, May 11 (Reuters) - Timminco Ltd TIM.TO reported a slimmer quarterly loss on Tuesday due to strong demand from the chemical and aluminum industries for silicon metal products.
The Canadian company, which suspended production of solar-grade silicon in March because of poor demand, said it lost C$10.9 million ($10.7 million), or 7 Canadian cents a share, in the first quarter to the end of March.
That compares with a loss of C$22.3 million, or 20 Canadian cents a share, in the same period last year.
First-quarter sales at Timminco, which has developed its own method of purifying silicon metal into solar-grade silicon to make solar energy cells, dropped to C$30.8 million from C$37.7 million. The year-earlier figure included sales of Timminco’s magnesium unit, which it sold in July 2009.
Timminco also produces silicon metal used in the chemical, aluminum and electronics sectors.
“Our silicon metal facility is operating at full capacity and we are well positioned to benefit from rising silicon metal demand and prices over the past several quarters,” Heinz Schimmelbusch, Timminco’s chairman and chief executive, said in a statement.
“At the same time, we are continuing our efforts to stabilize our financial position and execute our turnaround strategy,” he said.
Schimmelbusch said that although the company’s focus is now on its silicon metal operations, it continues to refine its production process for solar-grade silicon and explore new customer markets.
Shares in Timminco ended down 3 Canadian cents at 64 Canadian cents on the Toronto Stock Exchange on Tuesday. The results were released after the market close.
$1=$1.02 Canadian Reporting by Nicole Mordant; editing by Peter Galloway