Corning Upbeat

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Photo Courtesy: Reuters

On May 21, 2009, Corning‘s CFO Jim Flaws said at the Reuters Global Technology Summit in New York that growing demand for FPD (flat display panel) TVs increases the chances that the dominant glass supplier will boost its estimate for the overall LCD glass market in 2009. He also shared that the time may be right for Corning to consider acquisitions of small or medium-sized businesses.

Flaws was upbeat on consumer demand for FPD TVs, which has continued to grow almost every week leading the company to bring some idled glass production back on line. Corning’s previous estimate for the 2009 LCD glass market was 2.1 billion to 2.2 billion square feet. Flaws said,

There’s probably a slightly greater chance that it could be higher than it would be lower. Clearly, with the strength we’ve seen so far in televisions, if that continues, it would drive it slightly higher. The display industry is doing much better, particularly for us. We have price pressure from our customers — Samsung, Sharp, LG. But in the second quarter we’re looking for less price declines and basically are achieving that, and you probably won’t see pricing declines at all in the third quarter.

Corning had idled some of its glass tanks and reduced about 13 percent of its workforce to reduce costs during the sever economic downturn that has also significantly impacted the LCD industry. Corning will be relighting some glass tanks and rehiring some people it laid off. Flaws reiterated his optimism,

I have a general sense from talking to CFOs that things are not getting worse… they seem to be stable. Right now, we have the money to do small acquisitions… and we are actively looking.

Corning plans to take advantage of falling valuations to pursue small and medium companies in the telecommunications and life sciences sectors.

Source: Reuters