Corning Breaks Glass Ceiling
In Friday trading, Corning shares soared skyward, climbing $0.80 (6.77%) to $12.62.
The revelations, made today at the company's annual investor meeting in New York, were further sweetened when Corning reiterated that it would haul in revenues of between $770 million and $830 million during the first quarter. The company first made this revenue prediction in late January during its fourth-quarter earnings conference call (see Corning Q4 Exceeds Guidance).
In the past year, investors have been flocking to Corning, convinced it will find ways to get its glass into the next technology hotspot (see 2003 Top Nine: Turnarounds). The stock price has shot up 176 percent since February 7, 2003, when it was hovering around $5. Analysts expect Corning to earn $0.05 a share on revenues of about $803.1 million during the first quarter, according to Reuters Research.
"Our future has never been stronger," said James R. Houghton, Corning's chairman and chief executive officer, in a statement released in conjunction with the meeting.
Wendell P. Weeks, Corning's president and chief operating officer, told investors that Corning will get two bites of the cherry as the RBOCs build out their FTTP networks. First, when the fiber passes homes, Corning will see a kick of $60 to $100 per home passed.
Later, when the subscribers are actually connected to the network, a market of $70 to $120 per home connected will be created, though most of those spoils will go to equipment makers, Weeks said. Weeks also pointed out that the number of homes passed and connected will be "relatively small" in 2004.
During the fourth quarter, Corning's revenues from its fiber and cable segment were $180 million, down 13.9 percent sequentially and 8.6 percent year-to-year.
In the LCD market, Corning appears to be standing on more solid ground. Thanks to the proliferation of flat-screen TVs and notebook computers, Corning says the market for LCD glass could triple by 2006. Corning also said it would be investing more than $600 million over the next two years to add to its glass substrate manufacturing capacity in Taiwan and Japan.
— Phil Harvey, News Editor, Light Reading
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