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, advanced key innovation programs, strengthened Corning’s portfolio with strategic transactions, and returned cash to shareholders through stock buybacks and double-digit dividend increases. Most importantly, we have continued to live the values that make Corning such an extraordinary company,” he said.
Weeks began by briefly reviewing Corning’s 2016 performance. Highlights include:
- Awarded a record 458 U.S. patents;
- Introduced new products, including Corning® Gorilla® Glass 5;
- Won the majority of platforms awarded for gas particulate filters;
- Made strategic acquisitions to expand the company’s product portfolio and increase its market access in Optical Communications; and
- Realigned interest in Dow Corning Corporation, unlocking $4.8 billion dollars in cash.
Weeks acknowledged that Corning got off to “a rough start” in 2016, but turned things around and delivered strong year-over-year growth in the second half. He told shareholders that the company was continuing this momentum in the first quarter of this year. On Tuesday, Corning reported first-quarter results that included year-over-year growth in sales, net income, and earnings-per-share.
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 second Sustained Excellence award and fourth 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 between 2016 and 2019. The company is investing $10 billion to grow and sustain its leadership. 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,” said Weeks. In February, the company announced a 14.8% increase to its quarterly dividend. And over the past 18 months, Corning has returned more than $6.5 billion to shareholders. The company is also committed to investing $10 billion to sustain its leadership and deliver business growth over the long term. 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 secular growth. But we are also confident that we can continue doing what Corning does best – transforming industries, enhancing people’s lives, and delivering long-term value.”
During the meeting's formal business, shareholders elected the following 13 directors to one-year terms: Donald W. Blair, 59; Stephanie A. Burns, 62; John A. Canning Jr., 72; Richard T. Clark, 71; Robert F. Cummings Jr, 67; Deborah A. Henretta, 55; Daniel P. Huttenlocher, 58; Kurt M. Landgraf, 70; Kevin J. Martin, 50; Deborah D. Rieman, 67; Hansel E. Tookes II, 69; Wendell P. Weeks, 57; and Mark S. Wrighton, 67. The advisory shareholder vote approved the executive compensation and was in favor of an annual vote on executive compensation. Shareholders also ratified the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for 2017 and re-approved the material terms of the performance goals under the company’s 2012 Long-Term Incentive Plan.
Following the meeting, Eric S. Musser, executive vice president of Corning Technologies and International, provided an overview of Corning’s opportunities in the automotive market-access platform. He told shareholders that Corning’s innovations “enable cleaner, safer, and more connected vehicles.” Musser noted that Corning® Gorilla® Glass has the potential to become “as common in cars as it is on mobile devices.” He also described Corning’s opportunity in gas particulate filters (GPFs) for gasoline direct-injection engines, which represent approximately one-third of today’s market. He told shareholders that GPFs could increase Corning’s sales potential per vehicle by a factor of three-to-four.
The company hosted a live webcast of the 2017 annual meeting of shareholders in Corning, New York, from 11 a.m. to 12:15 p.m. EDT, April 27, 2017. 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 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.