Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) today announced its results for the fourth quarter and full-year 2015. Highlights of the report include:
- Business segment performance consistent with the company’s expectations;
- Moderate LCD glass price declines;
- Significant progress on the company’s new strategy and capital allocation framework; and
- Substantial progress on extending Japanese yen hedges.
Fourth-Quarter 2015 Results
For the fourth quarter of 2015, Corning reported core sales* of $2.4 billion and core earnings per share of $0.34, compared with $2.5 billion and $0.42, respectively, in 2014. Net sales (GAAP) for the fourth quarter were $2.2 billion and GAAP earnings per share were $0.17, compared with $2.4 billion and $0.70, respectively, in 2014.
Full-Year 2015 Results
For the full-year 2015, core sales were $9.8 billion and core earnings per share were $1.40, compared with $10 billion and $1.42, respectively, in 2014. Net sales (GAAP) for 2015 were $9.1 billion and GAAP earnings per share were $1.00, compared with $9.7 billion and $1.73, respectively, in 2014. Adjusted operating cash flow for the full year remained strong at $3.2 billion.
“Our fourth-quarter performance was in line with our expectations,” Wendell P. Weeks, chairman, chief executive officer and president, said. “Our long-term supply contracts and effective pricing strategies in our Corning Glass Technologies businesses continue to be particularly beneficial, and technology trends in optical communications continue to drive growth.”
“We were especially pleased to mark several major successes right out of the gate on our new strategy and capital allocation framework which outlines our priorities for the next four years: to focus our portfolio and utilize our financial strength,” Weeks noted.
*Core performance measures 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.
Significant Progress on the Strategy and Capital Allocation Framework
In October 2015, Corning announced a new strategy and capital allocation framework that targets generating and deploying more than $20 billion through 2019, with the majority of these funds expected to come from operating cash flow. The company plans to invest approximately $10 billion in opportunities to grow and sustain its leadership positions, and return more than $10 billion to shareholders.
In the fourth quarter of 2015, Corning marked early progress against the new strategy and capital allocation framework. The company:
- Generated significant cash flow in the quarter, resulting in $3.2 billion in adjusted operating cash flow for the year, despite continuing global economic weakness.
- Attained a moderate LCD glass price decline in the quarter, achieving the lowest sequential decline of the year. For 2015, the aggregate LCD glass price decline was the lowest in five years.
- Initiated a $1.25 billion accelerated share repurchase program (completed in January 2016), supporting the company’s commitment to return more than $10 billion to shareholders.
- Announced a realignment of the company’s interest in Dow Corning, a transaction that is expected to be accretive to the company’s earnings per share and essentially tax-free. As a result of the realignment, a newly formed entity, which will become a wholly owned subsidiary of the company, will hold approximately 40% ownership in Hemlock Semiconductor Group and $4.8 billion in cash. The transaction unlocks the value of Corning’s interest in Dow Corning’s silicones business, which today falls outside Corning’s three core technologies, four manufacturing and engineering platforms, and five market-access platforms.
- Established a long-term supply agreement with a low-cash investment in a Gen 10.5 glass manufacturing facility adjacent to BOE Technology Group, Ltd., the largest panel manufacturer in China. The existing long-term supply agreement for Gen 8.5 and smaller panels was extended through 2025.
- Announced that Ford’s GT supercar is using Corning® Gorilla® Glass for Automotive in its windshield and in two other windows – an example of Corning leveraging its market access with leading automakers to pursue disruptive opportunities while utilizing existing assets.
Fourth-Quarter Segment Results
- Display Technologies: Core sales in the fourth quarter were $903 million, compared with $1,055 million in the same period a year ago. Sequential LCD glass volume declined slightly, as expected. LCD glass prices continued to moderate as expected and declined less than in the third quarter. Core earnings in the fourth quarter were $234 million, compared with $356 million in the same period last year.
- Optical Communications: Sales in the fourth quarter were $736 million, compared with $676 million a year ago. Core earnings were $47 million, compared with $48 million in the fourth quarter 2014.
- Environmental Technologies: Sales in the fourth quarter were $254 million compared with $250 million last year. Core earnings were $29 million, compared with $36 million in the comparable period a year ago.
- Specialty Materials: Sales in the fourth quarter were $275 million, compared with $319 million a year ago. Core earnings for the quarter were $44 million, compared with $30 million in the fourth quarter 2014.
- Life Sciences: Sales in the fourth quarter were $202 million, compared with $215 million in the previous year’s quarter. Core earnings were $12 million, compared with $18 million in the comparable 2014 period.
- Core equity earnings from Dow Corning Corporation were $78 million, compared with $111 million in the fourth quarter 2014.
“We expect the first quarter to be the weakest of 2016, and we anticipate growth will recover in subsequent quarters,” R. Tony Tripeny, senior vice president and chief financial officer, said. “We are encouraged with the moderation of LCD glass price declines, and we expect this trend will continue into 2016. We are sustaining market leadership in all of our businesses.”
Corning provided the following expectations for its business segments in the first quarter of 2016:
- Display Technologies: In the first quarter, Corning anticipates that panel maker utilization will continue to decline, which will reduce inventory levels in the supply chain. As a result, the overall glass market and Corning’s LCD glass volume are expected to decline by a mid-to-high single-digit percentage sequentially. Corning’s LCD glass price decline is expected to be moderate, achieving what will be one of the lowest first-quarter declines in five years.
For the full year, Corning expects moderate sequential price declines to continue, and its glass volume to grow by a mid-single-digit percentage year over year, in line with total glass demand growth. Corning expects global television unit sales will grow by a low single-digit percentage, and the average screen size will increase by at least 1.5 inches. The company expects panel maker utilization to increase as the year progresses, and retail LCD glass area demand to be up by a high single-digit percentage in 2016.
During January, Corning took advantage of the stronger yen to extend its hedges. Corning is now hedged for approximately 70 percent of its projected yen exposure for the period 2016 through 2022 at a blended rate significantly below the recent spot prices. Corning will provide more details during today’s conference call.
- Optical Communications: Corning expects first-quarter sales to increase in the low-to-mid-single digit percentage range over its sales in the comparable period a year ago. For the full year, the company expects sales to increase by a mid-single-digit percentage and exceed the goal of two times the growth rate of industry capital expenditures.
- Specialty Materials: First-quarter sales are expected to decline year over year by a mid-teen percentage. For 2016, the company estimates annual sales will grow by a low-teen percentage. The variable timing of mobile device product launches drives Corning® Gorilla® Glass demand and is expected to cause significant swings in quarterly results.
- Environmental Technologies: The North American heavy-duty truck market is down after several years of robust growth. As a result, first-quarter sales are expected to decline by approximately 10%, compared with the same period last year. The full-year outlook is for sales to be down by a low single-digit percentage.
- Life Sciences: First-quarter sales are expected to increase by a low single-digit percentage, compared with last year. For the full year, sales are anticipated to grow faster than the market, which is expected to be up by a low single-digit percentage.
- Core equity earnings from Dow Corning are expected to be approximately $45 million.
“Our very strong balance sheet and competitive positions serve as the basis for executing on our new strategy and capital allocation framework. We are off to a strong start in delivering on this framework and are confident in our ability to deliver significant returns for shareholders,” Tripeny concluded.
Upcoming Investor Events
Corning will host investors and provide more information on its 2016 outlook at its annual investor meeting in New York on Friday, Feb. 5, beginning at 8 a.m. at Cipriani Wall Street at 55 Wall St. 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 chief financial officer. Corning also will attend the Goldman Sachs Media & Telecom Conference on March 1 in San Francisco.
Fourth-Quarter Conference Call Information
The company will host a fourth-quarter conference call on Tuesday, Jan. 26, at 8:30 a.m. ET. To participate, please call toll free (800) 230-1093 or for international access call (612) 332-0226 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 “Events.” A replay will be available beginning at 11 a.m. ET and will run through 5 p.m. ET, Tuesday, Feb. 9. To listen, dial (800) 475-6701 or for international access dial (320) 365-3844. The access code is 382853. 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.
Digital Media Disclosure
In accordance with guidance provided by the SEC regarding the use of company websites and social media channels to disclose material information, Corning Incorporated (“Corning”) wishes to notify investors, media, and other interested parties that it intends to use its website (http://www.corning.com/worldwide/en/about-us/news-events.html) to publish important information about the company, including information that may be deemed material to investors. The list of websites and social media channels that the company uses may be updated on Corning’s media and website from time to time. Corning encourages investors, media, and other interested parties to review the information Corning may publish through its website and social media channels as described above, in addition to the company’s SEC filings, press releases, conference calls, and webcasts.
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.