Corning Shares Sag on Outlook, Lower Earnings

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Corning Inc. (NYSE: GLW) reported fiscal third quarter 2013 results before markets opened Wednesday morning. For the quarter, the specialty glass products maker posted adjusted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $0.33 on adjusted revenues of $2.1 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $0.4286 on revenues of $1.92 billion. Third-quarter results compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $0.32 and $2.09 billion in revenues.

Corning reports adjusted, or “core,” revenues exclusive of currency translation effects with the Japanese yen, equity earnings from its Dow Corning joint venture, and other special items. On a GAAP basis, revenues totaled $2.07 billion in the third quarter, up from $2.04 billion in the same period a year ago.

The company issued preliminary earnings a week ago, so none of today’s results was a big surprise. At the time of that announcement Corning also revealed that it was acquiring Samsung’s 43% stake in a Korean joint venture that manufactures LCD glass. Core earnings for LCD glass were down 9% year-over-year in the third quarter and the decline was driven entirely by lower earnings at the Korean company. The company’s core earnings at its wholly owned business were up “significantly.”

Corning expects its acquisition of the Korean company to add $2 billion to annual sales and $350 million to incremental profits. Based on third-quarter results, that sounds like wishful thinking.

The company said fourth-quarter results will be lower sequentially due to normal seasonal declines in the non-display businesses. A drop in optical fiber sales volumes will be larger than normal as well. LCD volumes are expected to drop sequentially by a low single-digit percentage.

Corning’s specialty materials sales, which includes its Gorilla Glass product used by a number of smartphone makers including Samsung and Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), rose 23% driven by increased sales of Gorilla Glass and improvements in the manufacturing process.

Corning’s shares are down about 2.7% at the noon hour on Wednesday, at $17.14, within the stock’s 52-week range of $10.71 to $18.07. The consensus target price for the shares was around $18.20 before today’s report.