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January 25, 2012 7:11 AM

Corning Quarterly Profit Matches Estimates as Sales Advance

Jan. 25 (Bloomberg) -- Corning Inc., the world's largest maker of glass for flat-panel televisions, reported fourth- quarter profit that matched analysts' estimates, as sales advanced.

Net income fell 53 percent to $491 million, or 31 cents a share, from $1.04 billion, or 66 cents, a year earlier, according to a statement today. Excluding some items, profit of 33 cents a share matched the average estimate of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg.

The company, based in Corning, New York, had cut its fourth-quarter forecast on Nov. 29, after price declines for liquid crystal display glass and the loss of a contract in Korea. Corning said then that earnings might drop 30 percent, not 5 percent as predicted in October.

Panel makers' cost control and 'unwillingness to budge on panel pricing' are leading to more stability on prices, Darice Liu, an analyst with Brigantine Advisors, wrote in a note on Jan. 23. She rates Corning 'buy.'

A Corning spokesman, Daniel Collins, said the company will disclose more details about its expectations for 2012 at an investor meeting on Feb. 3.

'Considering that most of their products go straight to consumers, I think it's still going to a tough year,' Liu said, citing uncertainty about the economy.

Fourth-quarter sales for Corning advanced 6.9 percent to $1.89 billion, from $1.77 billion a year earlier. The average estimate of analysts was $1.85 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The company makes glass and ceramic products, including glass panels for liquid crystal displays, Gorilla Glass found on smartphone touch screens, fiber-optic cables, industrial air filters, and life science equipment.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Ville Heiskanen at vheiskanen@bloomberg.net

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