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, told the audience that Corning is strong.
“We have delivered solid financial performance, strengthened Corning’s portfolio with strategic acquisitions, and advanced key innovation programs. Most importantly, we have continued to live the Values that make Corning such a special company,” Weeks said.
2017 Performance and 2018 First-Quarter Results
Weeks began by briefly reviewing Corning’s 2017 performance. Highlights include:
- Earned a record 563 U.S. patents;
- Increased the adoption of Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5;
- Recorded the first commercial sales for gasoline particulate filters;
- Captured new customer opportunities in Corning® Gorilla® Glass for Automotive;
- Made strategic acquisitions to expand the company’s product portfolio, extend its global reach, and increase its market access; and
- Introduced Corning Valor® Glass, Corning’s revolutionary new pharmaceutical glass packaging solution that helps protect patients.
Weeks acknowledged that all of Corning’s businesses contributed to strong financial results in 2017. He told shareholders that Tuesday’s first-quarter results provided a solid start to Corning’s strong full-year performance expectations, saying that Corning is investing in capacity for growth, and that he expects to see the benefits of that investment through 2018 and beyond.
Weeks also told shareholders, “How we do things is as important as what we achieve.” He shared several examples of how the company was living its Values, including earning its third Sustained Excellence award and fifth consecutive Energy Star Partner of the Year award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
“I think you’ll agree that Corning is not only a company that delivers strong results, but also one you can be proud of,” he said.
Strategy and Capital Allocation Framework
Weeks reminded shareholders that as part of the company’s Strategy and Capital Allocation Framework, Corning expects to generate between $26 billion and $30 billion through 2019. The company is investing $10 billion to grow and extend its market leadership and deliver business growth over the long term. Corning also plans to distribute more than $12.5 billion to shareholders through share repurchases and annual dividend increases of at least 10%.
“We’re making good on that commitment,” Weeks said. In February, the company announced a 16.1% increase to its quarterly dividend. And in less than three years, Corning has returned $10 billion to shareholders. Turning to the company’s focused portfolio, Weeks described how Corning was capturing opportunities across its five market-access platforms.
Weeks concluded: “We are confident in Corning’s ability to deliver sustainable growth. We are also confident that we can continue doing what Corning does best – transforming industries, enhancing people’s lives, and delivering innovations that create value for decades.”
During the meeting's formal business, shareholders re-elected the following 13 directors to one-year terms: Donald W. Blair, 60; Stephanie A. Burns, 63; John A. Canning Jr., 73; Richard T. Clark, 72; Robert F. Cummings Jr, 68; Deborah A. Henretta, 56; Daniel P. Huttenlocher, 59; Kurt M. Landgraf, 71; Kevin J. Martin, 51; Deborah D. Rieman, 68; Hansel E. Tookes II, 70; Wendell P. Weeks, 58; and Mark S. Wrighton, 68. Shareholders also approved the 2017 compensation of the company’s executives named in its proxy statement (“Say on Pay”) and ratified the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2018.
Following the meeting, Michael Bell, senior vice president and general manager, Optical Connectivity Solutions, Corning Optical Communications, provided an overview of Corning’s opportunities in the optical communications market-access platform. He told shareholders that because of the increasingly connected world, “network operators are challenged to keep pace with video, connected devices, and mobility.”
Bell explained that Corning can solve these problems: “Since mobility is growing, network operators will be starting to deploy 5G networks. These new networks will have to carry much higher data rates: up to 10 gigabits per second, over a distance of 1 kilometer. Optical fiber is necessary to meet that need.” Bell told shareholders that Corning Optical Communications is on track to reach its goal of $5 billion in annual sales by 2020.
The company hosted a live webcast of the 2018 annual meeting of shareholders in Corning, New York, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EDT, April 26, 2018. To access the webcast, please go to www.corning.com/investor_relations, select “Events” and click on “More Information” next to the annual meeting event. No password is required. The webcast will be archived on the website for one year.
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 business, financial, economic and political conditions; tariffs and import duties; currency fluctuations between the U.S. dollar and other currencies, primarily the Japanese yen, New Taiwan dollar, euro, Chinese yuan, and South Korean won; product demand and industry capacity; competitive products and pricing; availability and costs of critical components and materials; new product development and commercialization; order activity and demand from major customers; the amount and timing of our cash flows and earnings and other conditions, which may affect our ability to pay our quarterly dividend at the planned level or to repurchase shares at planned levels; possible disruption in commercial activities due to terrorist activity, cyber-attack, armed conflict, political or financial instability, natural disasters, or major health concerns; unanticipated disruption to equipment, facilities, IT systems or operations; effect of regulatory and legal developments; ability to pace capital spending to anticipated levels of customer demand; rate of technology change; ability to enforce patents and protect intellectual property and trade secrets; adverse litigation; product and components performance issues; retention of key personnel; customer ability, most notably in the Display Technologies segment, to maintain profitable operations and obtain financing to fund their ongoing operations and manufacturing expansions and pay their receivables when due; loss of significant customers; changes in tax laws and regulations including the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017; and the potential impact of legislation, government regulations, and other government action and investigations.
For a complete listing of risks and other factors, please reference the risk factors and forward-looking statements described in our annual reports on Form 10-K and quarterly reports on Form 10-Q. 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.
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 uses 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, or supplemental to information contained in this or other press releases. 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, with a more than 165-year track record of life-changing inventions. Corning applies its unparalleled expertise in glass science, ceramic science, and optical physics along with its deep manufacturing and engineering capabilities to develop category-defining products that transform industries and enhance people's lives. Corning succeeds through sustained investment in RD&E, a unique combination of material and process innovation, and deep, trust-based relationships with customers who are global leaders in their industries.
Corning's capabilities are versatile and synergistic, which allows the company to evolve to meet changing market needs, while also helping our customers capture new opportunities in dynamic industries. Today, Corning's markets include optical communications, mobile consumer electronics, display technology, automotive, and life sciences vessels. Corning's industry-leading products include damage-resistant cover glass for mobile devices; precision glass for advanced displays; optical fiber, wireless technologies, and connectivity solutions for state-of-the-art communications networks; trusted products to accelerate drug discovery and delivery; and clean-air technologies for cars and trucks.