Corning Posts Strong 4Q Results, Set to Take on Asahi in Mobile Device Market

By Beecher Tuttle January 25, 2011

Specialty glass and ceramics maker Corning, Inc., saw its profits increase by 41 percent in the fourth quarter of 2010, powered mostly by sales of glass for mobile devices and high-definition televisions, the company announced on Tuesday.

Although Corning's Q4 net income surged to $1.044 billion, or 66 cents per share, the New York-based company barely missed its Wall Street projection of 67 cents per share. A year earlier, Corning netted only around $740 million.

Overall, the glass manufacturer saw its revenue increase by 15 percent to $1.77 billion, which beat out Wall Street's estimate of $1.6 billion.

Corning can credit its fairly strong fourth quarter to sales of its highly-popular scratch-resistant Gorilla glass, which is used by more than 20 gadget makers and is built into more than 200 million mobile devices. It has long been assumed that Gorilla glass is used by Apple for its line of mobile products, although neither company has confirmed the rumor. Sales at smaller specialty materials, which include Gorilla glass, were up 79 percent compared to year ago.

Meanwhile, Corning's other business sectors experienced more moderate growth. Display technology sales improved by 5 percent while its telecommunications sales only increased by 9 percent.

“We achieved excellent financial results with strong sales growth and net profit improvement in each of our businesses," Wendell Weeks, CEO of Corning, noted in a release.

"We substantially grew our cash position and saw the emergence of a significant new opportunity with Corning Gorilla Glass," he added. "Overall, it was a very good year for Corning.”

For Corning to continue its dominance in the mobile device industry, the company will be forced to compete directly with Asahi Glass, which recently introduced its own ultra-strong, scratch-resistant covers for various gadgets.

Asahi said that it is looking to take over at least 30 percent of the cover glass market in the next few years, and anticipates generating more than $350 million in sales in 2012, according to the Wall Street Journal.

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Beecher Tuttle is a TechZone360 contributor. He has extensive experience writing and editing for print publications and online news websites. He has specialized in a variety of industries, including health care technology, politics and education. To read more of his articles, please visit his columnist page.

Edited by Tammy Wolf

TechZone360 Contributor

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