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October 27, 2009

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Corning sees pickup in demand as profit slides

CORNING Inc said yesterday that demand is rebounding for its flat-screen television glass but the firm's third-quarter profit fell from a year ago as overall sales slipped.

Both Corning's profit per share and revenue beat Wall Street expectations, however.

"The improvement we have seen over the past two quarters has increased our optimism for the fourth quarter," Chief Executive Wendell Weeks said.

"Retail sales for LCD televisions remained strong throughout the third quarter, and we believe this will continue into the fourth quarter, which is typically the heaviest retail buying period. This demand has allowed the global LCD supply chain to maintain appropriate inventory levels."

The world's biggest maker of liquid-crystal-display glass for TVs and laptops said it earned US$643 million, or 41 US cents a share, in the July-September period, down from US$768 million, or 49 US cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding unusual items, its profit of 42 US cents a share beat Wall Street's forecast of 39 US cents a share.

Sales fell 5 percent to US$1.48 billion from US$1.55 billion a year ago. That also beat analysts' forecasts of US$1.42 billion.

Sales in Corning's display technologies segment fell 2.4 percent to US$679 million from US$696 million a year earlier after an earthquake in August cut production at its LCD plant in Shizuoka, Japan. But sales edged up 0.9 percent from US$673 million in the second quarter.

Market research firm DisplaySearch estimates about 130 million LCD-TVs will be shipped globally this year, up from 105 million in 2008.


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