The maker of specialty glass and ceramic products saw non-generally accepted accounting principles earnings rise 4% year over year to $0.29 per share, just above Wall Street's $0.28 estimate. Corning's $2 billion in sales also topped analyst targets.
High volumes of low-margin fiber-optic cable sales drove revenue 12% higher year over year in the optical communications segment, but operating income dropped 18% in the same department.
The specialty materials division recorded 29% lower sales and a 42% thinner segment profit compared to the year-ago period. Lower volumes of Gorilla Glass to smartphone and tablet builders drove these declines.
The company said it expects Gorilla Glass volume to increase on a yearly basis in the first quarter and said there was a "very positive reaction to our new Antimicrobial Corning Gorilla Glass at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this month. And, we expect to expand Gorilla Glass into the automotive and architectural markets this year."
On the upside for the most recent quarter, recent acquisitions lifted the life sciences segment to 14% higher sales and 31% stronger earnings. Environmental technologies more than doubled its profit on 9% higher sales, powered by strong orders from commercial-duty vehicle builders.
Looking ahead, Corning CFO James Flaws said he expects moderate growth in LCD panel products and a strong surge in fiber-optic communications orders. Heavy-duty diesel vehicles in Europe and China should drive single-digit sales growth in the environmental department next quarter, while specialty materials and life sciences are coming in relatively flat.
"We are optimistic that we will have another year of improved growth, profitability, and strong cash flow for Corning," Flaws said in a press release.
Corning shares have fallen 10% over the last three trading days. After this correction, the stock has returned a market-beating 40.5% to investors over the last 52 weeks.