Speaking at the company’s annual meeting of shareholders this morning, Wendell P. Weeks, Corning Incorporated’s (NYSE: GLW) chairman, chief executive officer, and president, said, “This company is built for longevity.” He added that Corning has successfully navigated the latest challenge in its 163-year history and is now focused on creating the company’s next growth surge.
2013 Results and 2014 First-Quarter Performance
Weeks told shareholders that Corning has delivered on its objectives to stabilize the Display Technologies segment and restore earnings growth. Despite a tough business environment, Corning reported sales of nearly $8 billion and grew core earnings per share 16% in 2013.
Weeks explained that all Corning’s businesses contributed to the company’s success. He cited as key contributors: moderate price declines for LCD glass, higher volume in the Optical Communications segment, the continued proliferation of Corning® Gorilla® Glass, manufacturing improvements in the Environmental Technologies segment, and synergies from acquisitions in the company’s Life Sciences segment.
As Corning’s performance improved, the company honored its commitment to return cash to shareholders. Weeks remarked, “In just over two years, we doubled the dividend and repurchased 13% of outstanding shares.”
Weeks also noted that the company continues to develop new growth drivers. Highlights from 2013 include:
- The extension of Corning Gorilla Glass into automotive applications
- The registration of Corning’s Antimicrobial Gorilla® Glass with the Environmental Protection Agency
- The acquisition of Samsung Corning Precision Materials Co. Ltd. (now Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd.)
Weeks told shareholders that Corning will continue its “march up” in 2014. Yesterday, the company announced a sixth consecutive quarter of core earnings-per-share growth.
Corning’s Next Growth Surge
Weeks underscored his confidence in Corning’s ability to create its next growth surge. He reminded shareholders that Corning’s history is characterized by periods of growth and transitions. “When we experience inevitable challenges, we innovate our way out,” he said.
Reflecting on the company’s proven track record of innovation, Weeks said, “Our products and markets have changed many times over the years, but our innovations share fundamental ingredients: a really tough problem; a combination of materials and process innovation; and a solution that makes a real difference in people’s lives.”
Weeks said that Corning continues to apply this successful formula today. He cited Corning’s visionary 2011 video, A Day Made of Glass, and described the progress the company has made bringing this world to life.
- The all-optical Corning® ONE™ Wireless distributed antenna system is helping enable an “always-on” world by ensuring robust, reliable signals in tough indoor environments.
- The video’s roll-able display devices are closer to becoming reality, thanks to ultra-slim Corning® Willow® glass, which combines the flexibility of plastic with the optical quality and stability of glass.
- Corning’s collaboration with View, Inc. is enabling dynamic windows that transition from transparent to opaque to increase comfort and reduce energy consumption.
Weeks noted that Corning also continues to innovate in other core businesses. In Environmental Technologies, the company is developing solutions to address new challenges such as “cold-start emissions,” the high volume of pollutants emitted when gasoline engines first start up. Corning is also participating in one of the most exciting new trends in life sciences by developing tools and surfaces for researching and manufacturing biologic drugs and treatments.
“Our products change, our markets change, and our businesses change,” said Weeks. “But what doesn’t change is our capacity for innovation, our unique capability set, and our ability to transform and lead markets.”
Following his report on the state of the company, Weeks recognized retiring director John Seely Brown for 18 years of distinguished service. “John is truly one of the world’s greatest innovation strategists and visionaries,” said Weeks. “Corning has been fortunate to have him as an advisor, an advocate, and a friend.” Brown is a retired chief scientist for Xerox Corporation.
During the meeting’s formal business, shareholders elected the following 12 directors to one-year terms: Stephanie Burns, 59; John Canning, 69; Richard Clark, 68; Robert Cummings, 64; James Flaws, 65; Deborah Henretta, 52; Kurt Landgraf, 67; Kevin Martin, 47; Deborah Rieman, 64; Hansel Tookes, 66; Wendell Weeks, 54; and Mark Wrighton, 64.
Shareholders also voted in favor of the total compensation paid to the company’s named executive officers as disclosed in the 2014 proxy statement, approved the company’s 2014 variable compensation plan, and ratified PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as the independent registered public accounting firm for the 2014 fiscal year.
Following the meeting, James P. Clappin, president of Corning Glass Technologies, provided an overview of Corning’s advanced display glass and cover-glass businesses. Clappin explained that Corning’s products “are actively engaged at the forefront of how people access, manipulate, and interpret information.” He told shareholders that Display Technologies will remain a great business with solid profit and cash generation. He said, “The next wave of display innovation is coming, and glass is sure to be at the heart of it.” Clappin also noted that Corning® Gorilla® Glass innovation will continue, and shareholders can expect to see a new generation of Gorilla Glass this year, as well as new attributes and applications.
The company hosted a live audio webcast of the 2014 annual meeting of shareholders in Corning, N.Y., from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EDT, April 29, 2014. To access the webcast, please go to www.corning.com/investor_relations, select “Investor Events” in the left-hand column, and click on “More Information” next to the archived event. No password is required. The audio webcast will be archived on the website for one year following the broadcast.
Presentation of Information in this News Release
Non-GAAP financial measures are not in accordance with, or an alternative to, GAAP. Corning’s non-GAAP financial measures exclude the impact of items that are driven by general economic conditions and events that do not reflect the underlying fundamentals and trends in the company’s operations. The company believes presenting non-GAAP financial measures assists in analyzing financial performance without the impact of items that may obscure trends in the company’s underlying performance. Detailed reconciliations outlining the differences between these non-GAAP measures and the most directly comparable GAAP measure can be found on the company’s website by going to www.corning.com/investor_relations and clicking “Financial Reports” on the left. These reconciliations also accompany this news release.
Forward-Looking and Cautionary Statements
This press release contains “forward-looking statements” (within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995), which are based on current expectations and assumptions about Corning’s financial results and business operations, that involve substantial risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks and uncertainties include: the effect of global political, economic and business conditions; conditions in the financial and credit markets; currency fluctuations; tax rates; product demand and industry capacity; competition; reliance on a concentrated customer base; manufacturing efficiencies; cost reductions; availability of critical components and materials; new product commercialization; pricing fluctuations and changes in the mix of sales between premium and non-premium products; new plant start-up or restructuring costs; possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity, armed conflict, political or financial instability, natural disasters, adverse weather conditions, or major health concerns; adequacy of insurance; equity company activities; acquisition and divestiture activities; the level of excess or obsolete inventory; the rate of technology change; the ability to enforce patents; product and components performance issues; retention of key personnel; stock price fluctuations; and adverse litigation or regulatory developments. These and other risk factors are detailed in Corning’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Forward-looking statements speak only as of the day that they are made, and Corning undertakes no obligation to update them in light of new information or future events.
About Corning Incorporated
Corning Incorporated (www.corning.com) is the world leader in specialty glass and ceramics. Drawing on more than 160 years of materials science and process engineering knowledge, Corning creates and makes keystone components that enable high-technology systems for consumer electronics, mobile emissions control, telecommunications and life sciences. Our products include glass substrates for LCD televisions, computer monitors and laptops; ceramic substrates and filters for mobile emission control systems; optical fiber, cable, hardware & equipment for telecommunications networks; optical biosensors for drug discovery; and other advanced optics and specialty glass solutions for a number of industries including semiconductor, aerospace, defense, astronomy, and metrology.