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Corning Profit Down, But Tops View - Update

Corning Inc. (GLW) Tuesday reported a slump in profit for the fourth quarter, despite a 14 percent sales growth, hurt mainly by increased costs and special charges. Nevertheless, earnings and revenues for the quarter came in ahead of estimates, reflecting continued strong sales of Gorilla glass.

Sales of Corning's Gorilla Glass, which is used in Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy smartphones, exceeded $1 billion for the year. Sales at specialty materials unit, which makes the Gorilla Glass, surged 68 percent to $399 million for the quarter, as sales of smartphones and tablets continued to strengthen.

Sales at display technologies division, which is Corning's largest business, rose 3 percent from last year to $800 million, as LCD glass price declines moderated.

Telecommunications segment sales increased 10 percent, while environmental technologies dropped 6 percent.

Corning's sales for the quarter grew to $2.15 billion from $1.89 billion last year. Analysts expected revenues of $2.07 billion for the quarter.

Commenting on fourth-quarter results, Chief Executive Wendell Weeks said, "Corning made good progress in 2012, despite some challenging economic conditions and changing market environments."

Gross margins for the quarter declined to 42 percent from 44 percent last year.

New York-based Corning's fourth-quarter profit dropped to $283 million or $0.19 per share from last year's $491 million or $0.31 per share.

Excluding special items, earnings for the quarter were $0.34 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $0.32 per share for the quarter. Analysts' estimates typically exclude one-time items.

Moving ahead, Financial Chief James Flaws said, "We are not without challenges in 2013 as we continue to face an uncertain global economy, but we enter the year with prospects for growth in Specialty Materials, Telecommunications, Environmental Technologies and Life Sciences. In our LCD glass business, we expect our market share to be stable, and price declines to be moderate."

GLW is currently trading at $12.24, up $0.09 or 0.74%, on the NYSE.

by RTT Staff Writer

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