- THE MAGAZINE
Corning Inc. recently announced its results for the first quarter of 2010, including sales of $1.55 billion, an increase of 1% sequentially and 57% compared to the first quarter of 2009. Display Technologies' wholly owned business volume was up 12% sequentially and 127% year over year. Samsung Corning Precision Glass Co., Ltd.’s volume was consistent with the previous quarter and up 64% over the 2009 first quarter.
“Our first quarter was outstanding, driven by excellent results across nearly all of our major business units,” said Wendell P. Weeks, chairman and CEO. “We were particularly pleased with the performance in Display Technologies, where we were essentially sold out. We are also encouraged by the growing market demand for Corning® Gorilla® glass for handheld and other electronic devices.”
Sales in the Display Technologies segment were $782 million, increasing 9% sequentially and 119% year over year. Glass prices for the quarter were down slightly and in line with expectations. Corning benefited from improved display manufacturing performance.
Telecommunications segment sales were $364 million, a sequential decline of 10% and in line with the company’s previous expectations. Year-over-year sales declined 5% in the quarter. Despite the quarterly sales decline, the company saw improved profitability in this segment as it began realizing operational improvements from restructuring actions taken last year. Corning had a telecommunications restructuring charge in last year’s fourth quarter.
Environmental Technologies segment sales were $192 million, an increase of 6% sequentially and 75% from a year ago. Sales were better than expected, resulting from higher-than-anticipated demand for auto emissions products around the world, particularly in North America and China. Profitability in the quarter was negatively impacted by higher transportation costs and manufacturing inefficiencies associated with restarting production to meet the increased demand.
Specialty Materials segment sales of $96 million decreased 13% sequentially but increased 60% year over year. The business benefited by the continued popularity of Gorilla glass, which is now designed into 80 consumer devices across 17 major brands.
Life Sciences segment sales were $118 million, consistent with the previous quarter and a 55% improvement year over year. First quarter 2009 sales do not reflect results from Axygen Bioscience, Inc., which Corning acquired in September of last year.
According to James B. Flaws, vice chairman and chief financial officer, higher-than-expected retail demand for LCD televisions, laptops and desktop computers in the first quarter of 2010, along with an improved outlook for these consumer electronic products through the remainder of the year, “have led us to increase our expectations for the annual growth of the LCD glass market. We now forecast a range of 2.9 billion square feet to 3.1 billion square feet of glass this year, up from our original expectation of 2.8 billion to 3.0 billion square feet.” This represents a year-over-year growth rate of 18 to 27%.
In its Display Technologies segment, Corning expects that volume in the second quarter will increase in the mid-single-digits for both its wholly owned business and SCP. Glass price declines in the quarter should be similar to the first quarter. The company said it plans on running all available capacity by the end of the second quarter to meet panel-maker demand.
“We are off to a very good start in 2010,” Flaws said. “However, we will remain cautious and continue to exercise tight control over spending. Our strategy of protecting the company’s long-term financial health and maintaining a high level of investment in our future through research and development has us well-positioned to capitalize on the economic recovery that appears to be taking shape.”
Additional details are available at www.corning.com.