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CEO: Corning weathering the recession

Post Time:Dec 11,2009Classify:Company NewsView:464

Corning Inc.'s strong balance sheet and the ongoing recovery of the LCD supply chain are allowing the company to withstand the nagging effects of the national recession, the company's top executive said Thursday.

Corning CEO and Chairman Wendell Weeks, while addressing the Corning Rotary, also said that while the Twin Tiers' largest employer is on pace to surpass its revenue goals for 2009, overall results remain down year-over-year and the company still faces economic uncertainty.

Weeks made the remarks at a luncheon meeting at the Radisson hotel. He said he doesn't anticipate any more companywide cutbacks as Corning wrestles with the ongoing national recession. But its business units are continuing to monitor their specific markets and respond accordingly.

In some instances, that means workers who were laid off during the company's latest restructuring are being selectively called back at the company's various plants around the world, including those in Corning.

Weeks also said the LCD glass market is recovering and next year LCD glass volume could reach 2.8 billion square feet. China, he said, is a major reason for the uptick, due to the country's rising demand for fiber, environmental products and LCD glass substrates.

Corning on Wednesdayraised its fourth-quarter LCD glass volume expectations and also said the LCD glass market in 2010 may be larger than originally forecast.

"The company's growth drivers are still in place," Weeks said. "People are still replacing CRT television sets with LCD and the appetite for high bandwidth continues to drive our fiber-to-home products."

However, Weeks tempered his remarks by saying he doesn't anticipate a speedy recovery of the company's revenue growth and that Corning will move ahead with caution.

Corning has weathered the recession he said, because of its strong balance sheet -- about $3 billion in cash versus about $2 billion in long-term debt.

"This has been a busy and challenging year, but I feel better this year than last year. In 2008, we felt the effect of the recession in all of our businesses. We ended the year 30 percent down over (2007) and started 2009 in a volatile environment," Weeks said.

He added that the best way for Corning to manage the volatility was to protect its balance sheet, which makes the company less vulnerable and allows it to be thoughtful about restructuring.

Looking ahead, Weeks said the company has recently opened a new Generation 10 LCD factory in Japan, which will specialize in extremely large, but very thin, glass substrates. Corning has also expanded its optical fiber facility in Shanghai to meet growing demand and customers are showing strong interest in Corning's scratch-resistant Gorilla Glass.

Source: Corning Author: shangyi

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