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UPDATE 1-LDK Solar third-quarter earnings rise

* Q3 net income tops forecasts at 77 cents per diluted ADS

* Revenue were $541.8 mln, up 241 percent

* Gross profit margin for the quarter was 22.7 percent

NEW YORK, Nov 19 (Reuters) - Chinese solar wafer maker LDK Solar Co Ltd LDK.N reported sharply higher quarterly earnings on strong demand for the renewable energy source.

Third-quarter net income rose to $88.4 million, or 77 cents per American Depositary share, from $41.6 million, or 37 cents per ADS, a year earlier, the company said on Wednesday.

Wall Street analysts on average had been expecting earnings of 71 cents per share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Revenue rose 241 percent to $541.8 million, slightly topping the range of $530 million to $540 million that the company had forecast last month, when it raised its previous outlook.

The Xinyu City, China- and Sunnyvale, California-based company, which makes the silicon wafers used in solar cells and modules to turn sunlight into electricity, said its manufacturing capacity had reached 1.2 gigawatts by the end of the quarter.

LDK and other solar power companies have enjoyed burgeoning growth as rising fossil fuel prices and concerns about global warming have spurred demand for renewable energy sources.

In recent months, however, investors have shunned solar stocks due to fears that a global credit crisis and a pullback in generous renewable energy subsidies could lead to an oversupply of solar panels next year.

LDK is building a polysilicon plant built adjacent to its solar wafer facility in Xinyu City, China,

LDK shares have lost half their value since the beginning of October. They closed at $14.89 Tuesday on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting by Matt Daily; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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