James B. Flaws, Vice Chairman and CFO at Corning:
Sharp has informed us they are significantly curtailing operations at their Gen 8 and Gen 10 panel making facilities for a period of time. We intend to continue to maintain our own production levels at both of our Japan manufacturing facilities to replenish LCD glass inventories and provide glass to other geographic regions. The decision by Sharp has no impact on our Corning Gorilla Glass operations in Japan. Demand for Gorilla Glass continues to be very strong.
Continued production of Gen 8 and Gen 10 LCD glass substrates that were originally geared for Sharp will have at least two impacts. First, these extremely large glass substrates are difficult to transport long distances and may result in some damages. There is a good reason why most Gen 6 and larger LCD fabs have at least one glass supplier close by. The most likely target for Corning Gen 8 glass manufactured in Japan will be the two largest LCD manufacturers located no too far away in South Korea: LG Display and Samsung. Second, there are no other LCD manufacturers that can make use of Gen 10 glass; Sharp is the only one. Gen 10 glass inventory will certainly grow.