LOS ANGELES - Shares in LDK Solar Co Ltd, a Chinese manufacturer for the solar power industry, fell as much as 4 percent on Wednesday, dragged down by the abrupt resignation of its head of manufacturing.

The company on Tuesday announced the departure of its senior vice president of manufacturing, Nicola Sarno, who was in charge of getting LDK's plant up and running to make its own polysilicon -- a key raw material for the solar industry -- instead of buying it from other producers.

Sarno's sudden departure casts doubt on the success of the plant, which, in our view, is LDK's only saving grace ... Oppenheimer & Co analyst Sam Dubinsky said in a note to clients.

Dubinsky said LDK Solar needs the plant to work since prices for its other business -- making wafers for the solar power industry -- are falling and interest costs have cut into earnings.

In August, LDK suffered a wider-than-expected quarterly loss and forecast third-quarter revenue below Wall Street estimates.

The company, which has offices in Xinyu City in China's Jiangxi Province, and Sunnyvale, California, said its President and Chief Operating Officer Xingxue Tong will temporarily take over all manufacturing operations, including polysilicon. Sarno's resignation is effective Friday.

LDK Solar's shares were down 3.2 percent, or 27 cents, at $8.08 in afternoon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Laura Isensee, editing by Maureen Bavdek)