Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) today announced its results for the fourth quarter and full year of 2014.
- Core earnings per share were $0.45*, a 55% increase over last year’s fourth quarter. These results were better than anticipated and completed the company’s ninth consecutive quarter of year-over-year core earnings growth. GAAP earnings per share were $0.70.
- Core sales were $2.6 billion*, a 30% increase from the comparable period last year. GAAP sales were $2.4 billion.
- In the Display Technologies segment, LCD glass volume remained strong as retail demand for large screen TVs continued.
- All of Corning’s business segments delivered year-over-year quarterly sales gains.
- Core sales were $10.2 billion*, a 29% increase from $7.9 billion last year, marking a record year in sales performance for the company. GAAP sales were $9.7 billion.
- Core earnings per share were $1.53*, a 24% year-over-year improvement compared with last year’s full-year EPS of $1.23*. GAAP earnings per share were $1.73.
- The very successful integration of Corning Precision Materials Co., Ltd. resulted in pretax synergies of greater than $100 million, which exceeded the company’s original expectations.
Fourth-Quarter Financial Comparisons
(In millions, except percentages and per-share amounts)
|Q4 2014||Q4 2013||% Change|
|Core Net Sales||$2,602||$2,005||30%|
|Core Equity Earnings||$116||$121||(4%)|
|Q4 2014||Q4 2013||% Change|
Full-Year Financial Comparisons
|Core Net Sales||$10,217||$7,948||29%|
|Core Equity Earnings||$311||$595||(48%)|
*These are non-GAAP financial measures. The reconciliation between GAAP and non-GAAP measures is provided in the tables following this news release, as well as on the company’s website. Core performance metrics (non-GAAP) are adjusted to exclude the impact of changes in Japanese yen and Korean won foreign exchange rates, as well as other items that do not reflect ongoing operations of the company. See “Use of Non-GAAP Financial Measures” section of attached Form 8-K for details on core performance measures.
“2014 was one of the strongest years in Corning’s history,” Wendell P. Weeks, chairman, chief executive officer and president, remarked. “Our sales exceeded $10 billion* for the first time in the company’s history, with 29% core sales growth, and 22% core earnings improvement from a year ago. We have now produced two full years of quarterly year-over-year earnings growth.
“We started the year with a clear priority to grow sales and earnings. We achieved this with outstanding growth in our Optical Communications and Environmental Technologies segments, and a very successful integration of Corning Precision Materials. We also introduced several new technology innovations in 2014, highlighted by Corning® Gorilla® Glass 4, which launched in November.
“We continued to deliver on our commitment to return cash to shareholders with the 20% increase in the company’s stock dividend and the additional $1.5 billion share repurchase program that was announced in December.”
Fourth-Quarter Segment Results
Core sales in the Display Technologies segment were $1.1 billion*, a 69% increase from $665 million* in last year’s fourth quarter, driven by the Corning Precision Materials acquisition. Core earnings for the quarter increased 26% on a year-over-year basis. Sustained retail demand for larger LCD television sizes drove stronger-than-expected glass volume in the quarter, while glass pricing declined less than in the third quarter, continuing a trend of moderating declines.
Optical Communications segment core sales were $676 million*, a 12% increase from last year’s fourth quarter. The fourth-quarter performance was better than expected, driven primarily by strength in North American Fiber-to-the-Home sales. Fourth-quarter core earnings were $59 million* in the segment, up 64% year over year.
Environmental Technologies segment core sales were $250 million*, a 5% year-over-year increase from $238 million* in the comparable period. Global demand for Corning’s light-duty and heavy-duty emissions products remained strong. Core earnings were $40 million*, an increase of 5% on a year-over-year basis.
Core sales in the Specialty Materials segment were $319 million*, a 12% increase year over year and stronger than the company anticipated. Fourth-quarter core earnings of $34 million* decreased 13% on a year-over-year basis. Without the write-off of a customer receivable, core earnings would have been up 8%. Corning introduced Gorilla Glass 4 in the fourth quarter amid strong consumer and manufacturer interest in improved mobile device screen-breakage resistance. Gorilla Glass 4 delivers up to two times improved breakage performance over competitive glass products.
Corning’s Life Sciences segment core sales were $215 million*, increasing slightly from the $210 million* a year ago, and core earnings were $22 million*. The company’s core equity earnings from Dow Corning Corporation were strong at $111 million*.
In the fourth quarter, Corning announced a new $1.5 billion share repurchase program to be completed by the end of 2016, and a 20% increase in its quarterly stock dividend beginning in the first quarter of 2015. Corning ended the fourth quarter and full year with $6.1 billion in cash and short-term investments.
Financial Reporting Matters
“Corning will be using a Japanese yen-to-U.S. dollar exchange rate of 99 in its core performance measures reporting in 2015,” James B. Flaws, vice chairman and chief financial officer, said. “We adopted the use of constant currency reporting as a supplement to GAAP in early 2013 when the Japanese yen began a significant weakening trend relative to the U.S. dollar. We believe the constant exchange core-performance measures aid our investors in understanding our results.
“We used a 93 yen-to-dollar rate for core reporting in 2013 and 2014, which was aligned with our hedge rates. We have entered into new hedges at a rate of 99 yen-to-dollar, so we think the constant yen rate of 99 is appropriate for 2015. Our new hedges extend through 2017, so we anticipate using this rate for three years.
“The majority of our analysts have already converted their models to the 99 rate. We will be providing a recast of 2014 and 2013 results to the 99 rate in a Form 8-K to be furnished today. There are some nuances on recasting from a 93 to 99 rate, so our Investor Relations staff will be available to help investors update their models.”
Flaws also noted that Corning’s capital spending for 2014 was $1.1 billion. “We anticipate 2015 capital spending to be in the $1.3 to $1.4 billion range,” he said. He also confirmed that the company has begun repurchasing shares under its new $1.5 billion authorization.
“We are entering 2015 with momentum. We are expecting sales growth again this year in Optical Communications and Environmental Technologies. And we anticipate that growing demand for Gorilla Glass will improve the Specialty Materials segment results,” Flaws remarked.
“We expect that another strong year of manufacturing process improvements and cost reductions, in combination with sales growth, will deliver overall earnings growth for Corning this year,” he noted.
In the first quarter, Corning anticipates LCD glass volume in its Display Technologies segment will be consistent to down slightly on a sequential basis, following a very strong fourth-quarter performance. This is in line with normal seasonality in the business. Quarterly glass price declines are expected to be moderate again.
Optical Communications segment first-quarter core sales are expected to increase by more than 10 percent on a year-over-year basis, as the segment continues its strong overall performance. In the Environmental Technologies segment, core sales are anticipated to be consistent year over year. First-quarter sales for Corning’s Life Sciences segment should be comparable to last year’s first quarter.
Specialty Materials segment sales are expected to increase by approximately 10 percent versus last year’s first-quarter performance, the result of increased Gorilla Glass demand for products launched in the third and fourth quarters of 2014.
Upcoming Investor Events
Corning will host investors and provide more information on its 2015 outlook at its annual investor meeting in New York on Friday, Feb. 6 beginning at 8 a.m. ET at Cipriani Wall Street at 55 Wall Street. Attendees can register online at the company’s investor relations website. Investors will hear presentations from the company’s chairman and chief executive officer, Corning business leaders, and the vice chairman and chief financial officer.
Also, company executives will be presenting at the Goldman Sachs Technology Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Feb. 10; the SIG Semi, Storage & Technology Summit in New York on Tuesday, Feb. 24; and the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom Conference in San Francisco on Tuesday, Mar. 3.
Fourth-Quarter Conference Call Information
The company will host a fourth-quarter conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 27, at 8:30 a.m. ET. To participate, please call toll free (800) 230-1059 or for international access call (612) 234-9960 approximately 10-15 minutes prior to the start of the call. The host is “NICHOLSON”. To listen to a live audio webcast of the call, go to Corning’s website at www.corning.com/investor_relations and click “Investor Events” on the left. A replay will be available beginning at 11 a.m. ET and will run through 5 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Feb. 10. To listen, dial (800) 475-6701 or for international access dial (320) 365-3844. The access code is 349651. The webcast will be archived for one year following the call.
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 (www.corning.com) is one of the world’s leading innovators in materials science. For more than 160 years, Corning has applied its unparalleled expertise in specialty glass, ceramics, and optical physics to develop products that have created new industries and transformed people’s lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in R&D, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and close collaboration with customers to solve tough technology challenges. Corning’s businesses and markets are constantly evolving. Today, Corning’s products enable diverse industries such as consumer electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and life sciences. They include damage-resistant cover glass for smartphones and tablets; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for high-speed communications networks; trusted products that accelerate drug discovery and manufacturing; and emissions-control products for cars, trucks, and off-road vehicles.