Corning to shut CRT glass plant

Corning to shut CRT glass plant Corning Inc. has announced plans to close its television glass joint venture with Japan's Asahi Glass Co.

Ltd. as low demand in the NAFTA area and stiff competition from foreign suppliers push the business into bigger losses.

Loss-making Corning Asahi Video Products Co., a supplier of cathode ray tube TV glass, will cease production by the end of this quarter and take a charge of $140 million to $170 million to be split between the two partners.

"For several years now, CAV has been a mature business and its results have been declining due to the rapidly changing market dynamics of the television business," said James Flaws, Corning vice chairman and chief financial officer, in a statement.

"We expected some improvements in sales and profitability as we moved through 2003," Flaws added. "However, the business has continued to deteriorate through the first quarter, and we now believe there are no prospects for a sustainable recovery."

CAV is not the only business that the optical fiber and photonic component supplier has had to shut down as it struggles to return to profitability in a tough electronic market.

Corning, based in Corning, N.Y., recently announced plans to close its optical switching business and expects to post a first quarter net loss of between $10 million and $50 million as a result of charges related to the closures.

"In our relentless drive to restore profitability to Corning, we cannot carry money losing mature businesses," said James Houghton, chairman and chief executive of Corning, in the statement.

The closure of CAV will result in the loss of 1,000 jobs, many of them at the company's State College, Pa., facility.

Corning's management has already approved the closure and a decision from Asahi's management is expected soon, the company said.

Corning said it will meet or exceed its first quarter sales estimate of between $700 million and $730 million but will post several one-time charges related to business closures and a $300 million pretax charge associated with asbestos litigation.

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