On Monday, Corning
Corning predicts worldwide demand for LCD-quality glass to increase by about 60% total in 2004; Corning itself expects to increase production by 70%. So either the company is intentionally producing more glass than it plans to sell (unlikely), or this leader of the LCD glass industry expects to increase its market share further this year. Good news for Corning shareholders indeed.
The company is also standing firm on its earlier prediction of third-quarter revenues of $950 million to $1 billion and core earnings of $0.10 to $0.12 per share. The company excluded special charges from that earnings estimate, however, and those will likely shave as much as $0.02 per share off of the GAAP results.
Corning also made a few observations on the state of the LCD panel makers it supplies. The company reiterated the view, already suggested by industry analysts, that LCD panel makers are starting to slash their prices to boost sales volumes. LCD panel makers hope the lower prices can spur market penetration of 16% for LCD TVs by 2006 (pretty aggressive, with the things still selling for multiples of $1,000). Corning appears to be hedging its bets on that score and currently plans to produce only enough glass to support market penetration of 10%. Corning pointed out, however, that if its view turns out to be too conservative, it is prepared to increase its production capacity.
Matching actions to words, last week Corning began construction of a new $750 million LCD glass manufacturing plant in Taichung, Taiwan. The company anticipates that completing construction will take a year, with the first glass to begin rolling out by the third quarter of 2005.
For more Foolish news and commentary on the flat-panel revolution, tune in to:
- The Flat-Panel War Widens
- Monitoring Flattened Screen Sales
- Philips' Future Gets Smudged
- NYSE LCD IPO TBA
Fool contributor Rich Smith owns no shares in any company mentioned in this article.