WHAT TO WATCH FOR: Whether and how fast LCD glass volume is slowing, plus fresh signs of how swiftly ultra-tough Gorilla glass is migrating from hand-held and tablet devices to high-end TVs.
Corning commands more than 60 percent of the global market in LCD glass, which is its biggest business by far. But analysts worry that retail demand for LCD TVs featuring Corning´s LCD glass may not be as strong this year as expected.
The western New York glass and ceramics pioneer said LCD glass volume rose 5 percent in the first quarter. And it has predicted a similar increase in April through June. Volume typically rises markedly in the second half.
The company expects the appetite for flat-screen TVs, touch-screen tablets and smartphones to increase the volume industry-wide of LCD glass from 3.1 billion square feet in 2010 to between 3.6 billion and 3.8 billion square feet this year.
Citi Investment Research analyst Jim Suva says Corning´s goal of capturing up to $1 billion in revenue this year from its Gorilla cover glass "looks increasingly at risk." So far, only Sony Corp. has announced it is incorporating the glass in a new line of Bravia TVs.
Invented in 1962, Gorilla found commercial use only in 2008. It reeled in $250 million in sales last year.
WHY IT MATTERS: With LCD-TV market penetration reaching 65 percent in the U.S., China will become the global leader in total TV sales. Corning is building an $800 million advanced LCD glass plant in Beijing and expects its China sales will grow to around $1.2 billion this year from more than $800 million in 2010.
Based in western New York state, Corning also makes air-pollution filters for vehicles and industrial plants and is the world´s largest producer of optical fiber and cable. It employs 24,500 people.
WHAT´S EXPECTED: Analysts on average expect Corning to report adjusted earnings of 47 cents per share on revenue of $1.98 billion, according to FactSet.
LAST YEAR´S QUARTER: Corning earned $913 million, or 58 cents per share. Revenue climbed 23 percent to $1.71 billion, driven by strong demand for its LCD glass for flat-panel TVs, computers and mobile devices.