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Corning (NYSE:GLW)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 25, 2012 8:30 am ET

Executives

Kenneth Sofio -

James B. Flaws - Vice Chairman, Chief Financial Officer, Member of Executive Committee and Member of Finance Committee

Wendell P. Weeks - Executive Chairman, Chief Executive Officer, President and Chairman of Executive Committee

Richard Eglen - Vice President and General Manager of the Corning Life Sciences Business Segment

Analysts

Ehud Gelblum - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

Mark Sue - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Nikos Theodosopoulos - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Amir Rozwadowski - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Rod B. Hall - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Jim Suva - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Simona Jankowski - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

George C. Notter - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Wamsi Mohan - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Operator

Ladies and gentlemen, thank you for standing by. Welcome to Corning First Quarter Conference Call. As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. Now I'd like to introduce Ken Sofio, Vice President of Investor Relations. Please go ahead.

Kenneth Sofio

Thank you. Good morning. Welcome to Corning's first quarter conference call. Jim Flaws, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer, will start the call with some prepared remarks. Wendell Weeks, our Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; as well as Dr. Richard Eglen, Vice President and General Manager of Life Sciences, will join us for the Q&A.

Today's remarks contains forward-looking statements that fall within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. They involve a number of risks, uncertainties and other factors that could cause actual results to differ materially. These risks are detailed in the company's SEC reports.

And now, I'd like to turn the call over to Jim Flaws.

James B. Flaws

Thanks, Ken. Good morning, everyone. Hopefully, you had a chance to read the press release we issued this morning on our first quarter results. If you haven't, a copy can be found on our Investor Relations website.

I'd like to begin with our key messages this morning. Two months ago, at our Annual Investor Meeting, we announced we were facing a significant reset in the company's profit levels. The reset was primarily due to significant price declines we were experiencing in our Display business over the fourth quarter of 2011 and the first quarter of 2012. We told you one of the most important objectives was to reduce the level of these very significant quarterly price declines. This morning, I'm very pleased to report we expect our glass price declines in the second quarter will be much more moderate than the average of the previous 2 quarters. In terms of glass shipments, Display volume was better than we expected in the first quarter. Volume at our wholly-owned business was up in the mid-single-digits sequentially versus our expectations of being flat. SCP volumes were down less than 10% sequentially, which was also better than our guidance of down in the low double-digits.

We told you at our Investor Meeting that in addition to needing significant slowdown in the glass price declines, we also needed to continue to grow our other businesses. I'm very pleased that in the first quarter, all our other businesses grew sequentially. Specialty Materials sales were up 21%, led by the stronger-than-expected demand for Gorilla Glass. Sales in Environmental were up 12%, also more than anticipated.

We also told you to reach our goal of $10 billion sales by 2014, we would supplement organic growth with acquisitions. Hopefully, you saw our announcement to acquire a significant portion of Becton Dickinson's Discovery Labware unit. This acquisition is expected to be completed later this year and is part of our strategy to becoming a bigger, more balanced company. We're delighted with this pending transaction. Several years ago, we established a plan to grow our Life Sciences business to be a $1 billion business. We have grown organically, and with the acquisitions of Axygen, Gosselin and Mediatech reached nearly $600 million last year. The pending purchase of BD's Discovery Labware unit will complement our existing portfolio and provide access to new customers. We believe this business will help catapult our Life Science segment towards its $1 billion goal by 2014. I'll share some more details on this shortly.

I do want to stress this transaction will not impact our ability to increase dividends or buy back additional shares. And we have the financial flexibility to pursue additional acquisition opportunities in both Life Sciences and Telecom. For those who have not had a chance to see our balance sheet yet, we ended the quarter with $6.8 billion in cash.

In summary, we are pleased with our first quarter results and our progress against our key initiatives. So with that intro, I'll walk you through our Q1 results and our Q2 outlook.

First quarter sales were $1.9 billion, up slightly sequentially and consistent with a year ago. Gross margin was 42.4% and lower than the fourth quarter, as we had expected. Lower gross margin in Display offset improved gross margins in Environmental, Specialty Materials and Life Sciences. SG&A was lower on a dollar in the percentage of sales basis while R&D was slightly higher. Equity earnings of $218 million were down about 10% sequentially, compared to equity earnings, excluding special items, of $241 million at quarter 4. Now, as a reminder, we had excluded a significant onetime gain that occurred at Dow Corning in Q4.

Earnings per share excluding special items were $0.30, just slightly lower than Q4, but a material decline from a year ago. Growth equity earnings in EPS is stated here in non-GAAP measures. You can find a reconciliation to GAAP on our website.

Now, let's start with Display. Display sales were $705 million in Q1, a decrease of 10% sequentially, and versus last year. Volume was up in the mid-single-digits, exceeding our expectations. Price declines over Q4 and Q1 were in line with our expectations. Q1 results were negatively impacted by the weaker yen, which averaged 79 for the quarter. Volume at SCP was down less than 10% sequentially, which is better than we had expected, and the result of customer utilization rates strengthening in March. Equity earnings from SCP's LCD glass business were $182 million in Q1, a decrease of 5% from the fourth quarter. Now, for your modeling purposes, SCP's first quarter LCD sales were about $730 million, a decline of 8% from the fourth quarter. As a reminder, this represents SCP's LCD sales only. Our public filings will report SCP's total sales which, of course, includes CRT glass and other product sales.

Now I'd like to spend a few minutes discussing inventory levels in the Display supply chain, glass supply, demand and retail. We have revised our estimate of Q4 supply chain inventory now that we have the final data. The fielded Q4 number was 15.2 weeks and the supply chain had actually reduced more inventory than we previously thought. Our preliminary estimate inventory at the end of Q1 was approximately 15 weeks. We think the supply chain built a small amount of inventory in Q1. We will continue to monitor inventory levels, especially as we progress to the second quarter. Historically, the second quarter has been the most difficult time period for the supply chain because of the lower seasonal retail sales.

In terms of glass supply and demand, we believe both were in a relative balance entering the second quarter. Regarding our own capacity, we continue to evaluate our need to bring back glass capacity for both LCD, and of course, Gorilla Glass. This time, we consider our own glass inventory levels to be at the low end of what we would consider to be healthy. As a result, we'll likely take some measured steps to ensure we have adequate supply to meet demand.

Now, turning to retail, we don't have a lot of new data. In the U.S., we're seeing growth rates that are a little higher than we had expected, this is likely driven by continued growth in larger screen TVs. However, in Europe, demand is definitely weaker, likely a reflection of the economic uncertainty there. This is an area we're going to continue to monitor. As expected, year-over-year unit sales in Japan are down due to the tough year-over-year comparisons with the eco-point promotions last year. In China, there was an interesting dynamic this year, with the Chinese New Year falling in January versus February. And therefore, the promotional activity for the holiday actually started in December, leading to strong pull-in of demand. You may recall, in December, units grew 45% despite the lower demand in January, but we were pleased to see a strong growth rate return in February. We've aggregated the months of December, January and February to deal with the holidays changing, and the blended unit growth rate in China was 15% up.

In terms of PC demand for the year, we have no change for our estimate of 4% in unit growth, excluding tablets. In terms of glass demand into retail, our estimate remains at the 3.6 billion square feet. As we mentioned on our January conference call, we have a variety of cases with retail demand being above or below that point estimate of 3.6 billion, driven primarily by different economic scenarios.

Lastly, in terms of our migration to Eagle XG Slim, we continue to make excellent progress. We are well on our way to meeting our goal of more than half of our glass being shipped thin.

Now, turning to Telecom. Sales were $508 million, up 4% sequentially, but slightly below our expectations of being up 5% to 10%. This slight miss from expectations was due primarily to lower demand for cable products. Fiber-to-the-home and optical fiber demand grew sequentially, and while enterprise sales were consistent. Net income was $21 million, down from $26 million in Q4 and $41 million a year ago. Now, compared to year ago, the decrease in net income largely reflects weaker submarine cable sales and an increase in project spending to support fiber-to-the-home and growth initiatives for NBN in Australia, China and India.

In Environmental, sales were $263 million, up 12% sequentially, which was higher than our expectations. In addition to the normal seasonality increase in Q1, we saw additional growth. Strong auto demand in North America drove sales of gasoline substrates and higher heavy-duty sales reflected manufacturing improvements during the quarter. Net income in Environmental jumped from $28 million in Q4 to $40 million in Q1.

In Specialty Materials, sales were $288 million, up 21% sequentially and much higher than we originally expected. This better-than-expected sales was due primarily to very strong demand for Gorilla Glass. We saw a surge in demand in March, which we believe was due to finishers preparing for the launch of new product models. Gross margin expanded significantly in the quarter and the segment posted net income of $21 million versus a net loss of $105 million in Q4. Now remember that loss in Q4 was primarily due to onetime charges.

In Life Sciences, Q1 sales were $155 million, up 8% sequentially and 8% above the year ago, driven primarily by acquisitions. As I mentioned in my opening remarks, we have great expectations for our Life Sciences business. We have been and will continue to be innovators in Life Sciences. In fact, as a result of our innovative new business platforms such as unique cell culture vessels and novel surfaces, business has grown organically at a faster rate than the overall industry in the past 3 years. It is an industry that remains very attractive to us. Life Sciences is very different from our telecom and consumer electronic-related businesses, as it is more immune to economic recessions and has much less seasonality. In addition, the amount of new capital required is typically very low, which is a nice divergence from our other very capital intensive businesses.

Very excited about the pending purchase of BD's Discovery Labware Unit. This business is currently profitable and generates cash. They have an excellent long-standing reputation the market. In fact, even those who do not follow Life Sciences industry have heard of Beck and Dickinson and their world-class products. We could not be more excited to welcome the Discovery Labware unit into the Corning family. We expect the transaction to close by the end of this year, and be accretive by 2013, excluding the amortization of purchased intangibles. And looking ahead to 2016, which is the end of our planned integration timeframe, we expect to reach $0.05 per share accretion, also before the amortization of purchased intangibles. The estimate synergies will contribute about half the accretion through revenue expansion, SG&A reductions and manufacturing efficiency gains.

Let me quickly highlight the revenue expansion. You'll recall this chart from our Investor Day in February. I've highlighted, in blue text, some key examples. First, the BD unit bring complementary products we hope will add to our sales opportunities. Additionally, we have multiple revenue synergy opportunities in adjacency areas, like biological coatings on Corning products, expanding our products like Epic and services into the ADME toxicology. For analysts who may not know what ADME toxicology is, Dr. Richard Eglen, Vice President General Manager of Life Sciences, is actually on our call this morning and he can answer any of your questions you have regarding the pending acquisition and the business.

Now, turning to Dow Corning, equity earnings were $35 million, down 29% compared to the equity earnings, x specials, of $51 million in Q4. And as a reminder, we had excluded a large onetime gain in Q4. In the silicon business, Dow Corning did see good volume growth and much more moderate pricing pressure, which led to an increase in silicon sales. However, this is more than offset by the results at Hemlock. I'll have more commentary on Dow Corning and Hemlock in our outlook section.

Now, moving to the balance sheet. We ended the first quarter with $6.8 billion in cash and short-term investments, up from $5.8 billion from the end of the year. Increase was primarily due to the $750 million debt issuances during the quarter. Biggest outflow in the quarter was cap spending of $412 million. Free cash flow was a positive $345 million, and a great start to the year, as the company often experiences an outflow in Q1. We also continued our share repurchase program during the first quarter, although the pace of repurchasing was much slower than the fourth quarter. Investors should not view our repurchasing pattern in Q1 as being less bullish. Board management continue to believe the company's current stock price is trading at a value that is lower than the long-term value of the company. I'll not speculate on how fast we'll go through the remainder of the approved amount or what the board will decide to do next. I can tell you that our current cash balance and cash flow expectations over the next several years, we expect to have ample financial flexibility to fund additional share repurchases, do M&A or to increase the dividend. Regarding the BD transaction of U.S. cash, we have ample cash on hand domestically to pursue all 3.

So that completes my remarks on the first quarter. To summarize, I'd say we're very pleased with the first quarter performance, especially in light of the headwinds we talked about just 2 short months ago.

Now I'll turn to the outlook and I'll start with Display. In the second quarter, volume at our wholly-owned business should be consistent with the first quarter, and at SCP, volume should be up slightly sequentially. Our primary reason for these levels of expected volume is that TV demand in some areas of the world has been weak and the supply chain has already built some inventory. As always, we can be wrong, we're monitoring panel maker utilization closely. We do expect stronger pickup in glass demand in second half assuming normal retail seasonality.

Now for glass pricing, as I mentioned in the beginning, we expect our price declines to be much more moderate in Q2 compared to the significant declines that we experienced over Q4 and Q1. As a reminder, the pattern of price declines varied in those quarters but all customers received significant price declines over that period.

Moving to Telecom. We expect sales to be up in the low- to mid-teens, sequentially, driven by growth across all product lines. Environmental, we expect sales to be consistent with the first quarter while we anticipate strong growth in heavy-duty filters. We're forecasting softer sales in the European market for light-duty filters for cars.

Specialty Materials should have another strong quarter, led by Gorilla Glass. Sales are expected to be up 10% to 15% sequentially. And in Life Sciences, we expect sales to be up 5% to 10%. At Dow Corning, we expect equity earnings to be up about 40%, driven primarily by the higher volumes for both silicons and polysilicon.

Now, at Hemlock, we're anticipating the challenging price conditions in poly will continue. The global oversupply of poly, combined with the decline of subsidies for 2 of the world's biggest markets for poly, to Germany and Italy, continuing to impact poly pricing and solar demand. We do not expect pricing to improve until supply demand levels return to balance and the current overcapacity situation subsides.

Now, turning to the rest of our Q2 forecast. We expect gross margin to drop almost a percentage point. While we expect some margin expansion at Telecom and Specialty Materials, these will be offset by slightly lower margins in Environmental and Display. Display, gross margin will be slightly lower, even though price declines will be much more moderate than previous quarters. From a modeling standpoint, it typically takes a higher amount of volume increase to offset even moderate price declines. The volume levels are not enough to hold gross margin this quarter. SG and R&D will be consistent as a percentage of sales in the second quarter. Equity earnings, excluding special items, will be up slightly, sequentially. Our tax rate will remain around 20%.

Now, for FX, the yen has significantly weakened over the past few months. The fourth quarter, the yen to U.S. dollar exchange rate was 77, Q1, it was 79. Month of April it actually reached as high as 83, and today, it's bouncing between 81 and 82. As a reminder, our results move with the changes in the yen to U.S. dollar exchange rate. Weaker yen lowers our results, a stronger yen helps. So if the yen averages 1 point higher or lower in Q2, we estimate our sales and net income would decrease or increase by approximately $7 million.

That concludes my opening remarks. Ken?

Kenneth Sofio

Thank you, Jim. Operator, we're ready to take questions for Jim or Wendell or Richard.

Question-and-Answer Session

Operator

[Operator Instructions] Our first question comes from the line of Ehud Gelblum from Morgan Stanley.

Ehud Gelblum - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

It's Ehud. First of all, Jim, of course we know what ADME stands for. It's absorption, distribution, metabolism and excretion. I think that's what it means, at least. A couple of questions quickly. First of all, can you give us an update on the China tanks coming online and timing-wise and progress there? And you previously had talked about having 25% of your capacity off-line and spoke about one of your competitors having a 35% of their capacity online and that helping create a better supply demand balance. You made some comments that your own inventory of glass was low and so -- did I detect that you are bringing some of that 25% back online or are you letting the move to thin glass sort of add to your capacity? And so, where do you see the off-line amount of capacity a quarter or 2 out from here?

James B. Flaws

So your first question, on China. We haven't had a change in the display factory in Beijing. We expect the capacity to begin coming online in Q3. We're going to only bring up a portion of the factory, we're going to be very deliberate about how much capacity that adds. Obviously, we're already shipping by customer there from our facilities elsewhere, but we will start one tank there in the third quarter. In terms of our own capacity, we're not giving out the new number. We have brought out some Gorilla tanks. We are being very careful about how much capacity we have online, it's less than 25%, but we are keeping it in balance with what we see as demand. It's our feeling that the glass industry, overall, is doing exactly the same. We see no wholesale charge to light up a ton of capacity by our competitors. And so that's why we continue to believe we're, basically, pretty much in line with supply and demand.

Ehud Gelblum - Morgan Stanley, Research Division

If I could just ask a follow-up. On the Korea customer that you had the issue with over the last several quarters. Is that now settled and where do you stand with them, with respect to -- their clearly not down to 0, but where do they stand with respect to what they were purchasing from SCP, let's say 3 quarters ago, and is that now stable going forward or do you anticipate more gyrations?

James B. Flaws

So, 3 quarters ago, if you're talking about the summer quarter, it should be Q3. We clearly are -- they are purchasing at a lower level, probably not too far off of what they did in Q3, which is when we lost the share originally. Compared to Q2, obviously, it's a lot lower. But they are continuing to buy from us, we continue to talk to them. But as I indicated, I think, actually at your conference, we are not going to give very low prices to try and gain share back.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Mark Sue from RBC Capital Markets.

Mark Sue - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Jim, maybe if we could get a sense of the quarterly sequence of price declines in Display glass, it was bad for 2 quarters. It sounds as if it gets better as, near term, as capacity is taken out of the system. Is this kind of the new norm going forward? Maybe some insights into how the negotiations for pricing proceeded and what indications that holds for pricing discussions over the longer term.

James B. Flaws

Well, Mark, we had significant price declines in Q4 and Q1, at essentially all customers. They didn't happen exact same time at each customer, but in the end, all customers got significant price declines. We went for Q2, we obviously wanted to try and get back to a much more moderate price decline pattern, and that's what we rolled out. We were delighted that we were able to achieve that. We think the primary precursors to allowing that to happen is, number one, that capacity is more in line with demand; and number 2, that demand at retail has been okay. So that has worked for Q2. We obviously haven't negotiated the pricing for Q3. And I think the thing for you to pay attention to is if retail demand flowing through to the panel makers is as we expect in Q3 and Q4, and the industry continues to balance its capacity utilization from a glass point of view, that will be very favorable for pricing. But obviously, we are not giving guidance at this point in time for Q3.

Mark Sue - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Okay. And then Jim, separately, Gorilla Glass seems to be reaccelerating. What's driving that? Is that broad-based adoption in terms of applications or is it a concentrated customer that's kind of lifting your outlook for Gorilla Glass?

James B. Flaws

So I would say that we had some disappointment in the third and fourth quarter on Gorilla where we would say, in the end market, the demand for smartphones and the mix of smartphones, overall, is quite strong, as well as tablet sales were good. But that wasn't flowing through to us in quarter 3 and quarter 4, and now we feel like we are catching back up to that. The reason why we think we are off of it was that we do know that some customers built inventory in the first half of 2011. Remember, we were very tight on capacity, and then also, their own yields have been improving over that period of time. So what we're hopeful of is that the demand that we saw in Q1 is more representative of us being in line with the real end market, where smartphones and tablets continue to be doing quite well at retail, and that's why we hope that will continue in the second quarter.

Mark Sue - RBC Capital Markets, LLC, Research Division

Okay, so a more broad-based return.

Wendell P. Weeks

Yes, so let me just add to that, in that it is broad-based and we view that it is driving more in line with what is happening with the market. It's just important to note, this is a long supply chain, it's a complicated supply chain. We take glass, we ship it to finishers who cut it and exchange it. They, in turn, ship it to a touch panel manufacturer. They, in turn, send it on to a ODM who then assembles the whole thing, and then finally, it goes to the brand who is the person that we sold to, really, originally. And each of these steps has different yields and different players have different yields, somewhere between 70% and 95%, depending on the step and depending on the player. And our market position is so strong in this. It means that classic supply chain variability, right? We're going to feel 100% of that. And so that can mean, just depending on how the supply chain works, that our glass shipments, in any given quarter, can be different than the end market pull-through. And that's what we experienced in the back half of last year and now you see us sort of moving in line with the overall pole. And we're going to continue to have some fluctuation here, not because anything bad that's happening, but only because of the strength of our position and the length and excitement in the supply chain.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Nikos Theodosopoulos of UBS.

Nikos Theodosopoulos - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Just a couple of questions. I guess the first one is, in the press release, you mentioned that you think that the LCD revenues could show growth in the second half of the year. Even under a more moderate price decline environment it would seem that, in the third and fourth quarter, you would have to have roughly 15% kind of sequential increases in volume to achieve that. So I guess the question is, what gives you confidence that, that would happen? And then first, quarter number one. And then question number two, on Life Sciences. I guess, maybe if I look at -- it's an area, I don't know that well for Corning. If I look at your other businesses, you have very high market share and leadership. And when I look at this business before you started acquiring companies, you were doing just slightly over $100 million a quarter, it didn't seem like a business you had material leadership. Can you give me an update on what you think your market share is in this business and what this -- why the rationale in doing these acquisitions? Do you think you could become a material leader in that segment?

James B. Flaws

So I'll start with Display. I think what we were trying to say at the back half of the year is that the volume available for glassmakers, from the flow through of retail back to the panel makers, would be substantially higher, driven by the fact that the end market is seasonally stronger then. And what has happened to this industry, for the last couple of years is that, in fact, people don't have to build for televisions back in April for the Christmas season, they can do it much closer. So what we were talking about is strength in volume, sequentially, compared to the first half of the year. I'll let Wendell maybe open on Life Sciences, why we find it attractive, and then ask Richard to add a few more comments.

Wendell P. Weeks

To your point on leadership. It was exactly that, that we identified as the opportunity, Nikos, is that we could bring to bear some of the same things that make us be a leader in our other segments and become a leader here. And leadership in 2 ways that matter. I think one is innovation, where we've shown with our ability to grow organically at about twice the rate of the underlying market growth. And that has been solely due to our ability up bring more innovation to bear, and then also with brands. And so what you see us doing on the acquisition front is augmenting our already strong brand in the Discovery Labware market, with additional brands like Falcon, which are quite strong. And then, global expansion, which also plays to our strength because we're already very strong, as Corning, in a lot of the markets that are going to be the real hyper-growth areas for doing more discovery work in the Life Sciences area, which is where our product strength lies.

Richard Eglen

Yes. I mean, just a few words to add to that. I mean, a good number to bear in mind is that the Life Sciences division at Corning has grown about 16% from 2006 to 2011, and that's the combination of the innovation that's been brought through as well as the strategic acquisitions, of which, the proposed acquisition of the Discovery Labware business would be the fourth there. So as we grow and, as Wendell say, and expanded our geographic reach, we can now move with a broad product portfolio offering into both the academic research market as well as the drug discovery market as well.

Operator

Our next question comes from Amir Rozwadowski from Barclays Capital.

Amir Rozwadowski - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Jim, I was wondering if we could talk a bit about some of the ASP declines that you've seen. I mean, you said that there has been a reset, with respect to ASP declines, obviously, and with respect to margins on your Display business. With your commentary that you now expect to see sort of easing pricing declines going forward, should we now expect that, that -- largely, that reset is behind us or are you still somewhat cautious going into some of the forward quarters to see some level of stabilization here?

James B. Flaws

Well, I would say that we're hopeful that we've achieved back-to-the-moderate level. If you go back over most of the last 5 years, the majority of the quarters where this moderate price decline philosophy that we had brought out at the end of 2006, and we're hopeful that we have, with what we've achieved in quarter 2 and the conditions that we think are allowed that, that we'll get back on that. I cannot guarantee you that we've achieved that in perpetuity, but what we have done is to try and have capacity be in line with the demand, and we think that allows for more moderate price declines. We achieved it in Q2. We're hopeful the same set of conditions will allow us to achieve it in the back half of the year. I can't make that guarantee yet.

Amir Rozwadowski - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Okay. That's helpful. And then if I think about sort of innovation on the LCD TV market, I mean, a lot of us investors have seen some of the developments on the OLED side, at CES earlier this year. There's been a lot of talk, also, of possible new entrants into the TV market, perhaps bringing some of their innovation to bear, from other tangential markets. I was wondering if you could give us an update on where you see sort of OLED development and its impact for you folks, and whether or not you are seeing potential new entrants that could help drive further -- either replacement sales or some level of increased innovation that gets people a bit more excited about replacing televisions here?

Wendell P. Weeks

It's a great question, because as the LCD market has been going through the great challenges and sort of maturity that it has been, what our customer base has done is to invest very strongly in new innovations. I think OLED captures a lot of the headlines. But really, it's part of a overall innovation trend around high performance displays that are in the area of doing very high pixel count displays, as well as thinner, faster refresh, and then OLED adds the opportunity of a little bit more dynamic color with the potential to go even thinner. These higher performance displays, you put -- do 2 things that are helpful. First, the point you're making, which is higher performance displays encourage the market to trade up because it's more visible, literally, what it is you're looking at. And then the other is, from our perspective, it puts way more challenges on the glass itself, because the way you get a higher pixel count-style display is by putting -- by making more complicated electronics packages which put more stress on the glass, which offer us the opportunity to innovate. So those, I think, the 2 positive forces. There's a lot of different technology nodes out there. And what we're doing is covering our bets across, as you saw with the new OLED venture for glass with Samsung, who is the leader in OLEDs. And as you see, when you start to hear things like oxide TFTs, all of these new backplane technologies. We're also having a significant amount of effort and innovation in that space, and alliances with the leaders in that space as well. So, overall, we look at the amount of innovation in LCD right now, in our Display business, to be really at a high. And you're not going to see it in television first. Where everybody is focused is where the growth is at, which is in the same areas that Gorilla is at. So that going to tend to be in mobile displays -- is where you're seeing the bulk of the focus. There is work going on TVs and large size, but I think that's going to be a little bit later, as opposed to sooner, in terms of the size of its impact on the display technology landscape. If that makes sense to you.

Amir Rozwadowski - Barclays Capital, Research Division

That certainly is very helpful. And perhaps, on the question around meaningful [ph] potential entrants into the LCD TV market, have you folks been seeing any or can you even comment on that?

James B. Flaws

I cannot comment on the activities of any of our customers. It's for them to comment.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Rod Hall from JPMorgan.

Rod B. Hall - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

I guess, I've got 2. One is a little bigger picture question about the industry, the panel industry. So not profitable and marginally profitable. I guess that's the primary reason that pricing remains sort of volatile and uncertain in the future. And I just wonder if you guys could comment a little bit about what it is that repairs that industry profitability. Is it only demand that we have to look forward to or are there other things that could happen that help these panel manufactures to get more profitable so there's not much pressure on pricing. I guess that's my first question. And just a quick housekeeping question for Jim. I didn't hear you mention the overall industry glass volume, up to be -- glass volume for Q1 and I wonder if I just missed that or if you didn't mention it, if you could talk about that a little bit.

James B. Flaws

So we didn't give out the glass volume for Q1. We stopped giving at that level of detail about the supply chain. In terms of the panel industry, I'll start and ask Wendell to jump in. I think, what we have seen over the past quarter is stabilization and slight price increases in panel prices. And as Wendell was talking about, we've seen the industry, I think, slowing their capacity additions or actually, in some cases, stopping them. And we see them focused on products that could bring them higher revenue off of that capital, as Wendell was talking about, with some of the high performance displays. Wendell, anything you'd like to add on the industry?

Wendell P. Weeks

First, I think you're on a really excellent question in that the Display industry, our customer base, are quite challenged financially. And I think there's 3 things that they're doing to try to address that. First is getting an industry structure, where you see a sweeping set of moves by a bunch of different players as they either emphasize or deemphasize their investments in the space and consolidation. That, basically, is aimed at demand versus supply balance and that's where Jim is addressing. And the best proxy for that usually, one way or the other, is what's happening with panel prices and none of us would overreact to the latest sort of relative stability in panel price. I think we just got to look at this going forward and see how that plays out. Second is what's leading to their challenges is, first, the market wasn't as big everybody was expecting. And second, there's lack of strong differentiation in the product sets. That's where you see the emphasis on innovation for high-performance displays, which by the way, people talk about OLEDs. Note, oxide TFT technology, which is a new backplane technology, is revolutionizing what LCDs can do. It is making them faster refresh rate, much higher pixel count, it's way more dynamic displays. So it is far from over on which displays are going to win, in which segment. But you see that strong focus on differentiation, all right? And we'll see how that plays out in the technology nodes in one area or the other. And then, finally, you see the focus on those areas in the market that are growing the strongest. And their profitability pools are more aimed at the smaller mobile areas and that's why you see the emphasis towards that space. So I think those are the 3 things that the customer base is working its way through and we'll have to see how it all plays out. Clearly, the best and most important thing that can happen in the near-term is for the market, the end market, to perform in line with our expectations and theirs and that'll certainly help create the type of environment that's a little more stable.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Jim Suva from Citi.

Jim Suva - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

I'd like to ask, with your commentary about more moderate pricing, was that something kind of in a range of 3% to 4%? As I noticed, the company did not say like historical ranges which had traditionally been down closer to 2%. Or sort of differently, is the future pricing now slightly more aggressive or am I just being too sensitive on the wording, as I think you know, I'm a sensitive guy.

James B. Flaws

We think all our analysts are sensitive. Don't read too much into the wording. I will tell you that the price declines are significantly down from what we experienced in Q4 and Q1. And I'm not going to give out an exact number for competitive reasons, but you'd be very pleased by the reduction in the price declines that we've had, particularly because you're a sensitive guy.

Jim Suva - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

I take you back to your original plan, I believe it was in the 2007 time period or something, where you implemented this new pricing discipline nature of disciplined pricing. Does that take you back to that type of level or -- I guess, what I'm trying to get at is are we back to the original plan of pricing or something just slightly more aggressive?

James B. Flaws

I'm sorry, Jim, I'm not going to give you an exact number, for competitive reasons.

Jim Suva - Citigroup Inc, Research Division

Okay. Well maybe I can ask a different question. On the gross margin, I think I heard you mention they will be down about 1 point. If that's correct, does that imply that you think maybe Q2 will be the bottom for your gross margins or will some things such as ramp in China, impact that going forward? And I don't if when you ramp China, are you just layering in that additional supply slowly or will you be taking off production elsewhere in the impact to gross margins?

James B. Flaws

In terms of our gross margin -- in terms of China, we will balance all of our production against what we think the market needs. So if China came up and we didn't need it, we need to light one tank there, we would cut back elsewhere. But we actually think that in quarters 3, which is when China would start, and quarter 4, that the glass demand will be higher if we're right about the normal seasonal uptick at retail and the fact that the supply chain doesn't appear to be building excess inventories. So you should -- based on what we think, you shouldn't expect China to be a drag along profitability of Display. In terms of our gross margin, as to whether Q2 was the lowest, it all depends on what we see in Q3 and Q4. If our hopes turn out, that we're back on a path of moderate price declines and we see volume grow at a greater rate in Q3, that will improve Display gross margins and that will improve our corporate average gross margin.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Simona Jankowski at Goldman Sachs.

Simona Jankowski - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

It's Simona Jankowski here. Just a couple of clarifications on your Display business and then a couple of questions. I just wanted to clarify first. In terms of the upside you saw in the quarter, on your volumes, was that better demand that you saw or was there some better share gains for you at some of your customers, particularly as you caught them up on some of the pricing? And then the other clarification I had was on the competitive situation at your Korean customer. Looking at that now, do you feel that, that was really kind of unique and contained to that one customer or is there anything that would lead you to believe that there could be some similar type of situation, maybe not to that same magnitude, arising at other customers? And then I have a couple of quick questions.

James B. Flaws

So the upside was better utilization by various customers. That was the improvement. As to our characterization of what happened in Korea in Q3 and Q4, we regard that as a very unique situation and not something that we really are experiencing elsewhere.

Simona Jankowski - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Okay, that's helpful. And then just a couple of quick questions is, one, you didn't mention anything on the Olympics and I guess we've all kind of been burned with that in the past. But if could just give us a sense of what you're expecting or seeing in the supply chain ahead of that, if anything. And then lastly what impact, if any, do you see from the change there, at Sharp, in terms of Hon Hai's purchase of an equity stake in their 10G plant?

James B. Flaws

Well, I'll take the Olympics and let Wendell take Hon Hai. So we're not hearing the same buzz about the Olympics as we heard before the China one. And as you know, generally, our philosophy is that sporting events create a minor uptick. It's usually less than what people's expectations is. So we're actually quite pleased that people aren't getting overhyped about this. But we really don't -- I'm not hearing the buzz like we saw in 2008 before the Olympics in China. Wendell, would you like to comment on Sharp and Hon Hai?

Wendell P. Weeks

Well, first I'd like to take a little piece of the Olympics one and then I'll move on to Hon Hai, which is -- actually, we were hoping that -- my daughter who is a track athlete was going to make the Olympic trials this year. So I could guarantee you there was going to be a huge upsurge on television purchases here in the upstate New York region. However, she injured her ankle, so now I don't know. Anyway, I digress. The Hon Hai Sharp play. So let's contain ourselves to the publicly disclosed information from Foxconn, Hon Hai, Terry Gou basically, and Sharp. Because I just have to, okay? In their rationale for the transaction, what it really comes down to is Sharp is an absolute leader in Display technology. They're the people that we did all the original work with LCDs. It is true. And they're a leader -- earlier in the call, you heard me talking about oxide TFT and the revolution going on for LCD, Sharp is an absolute leader in oxide TFT especially very large-size oxide TFT. So they have that strength. Terry Gou says I have enormous market access, but I'm missing the relevant technology to be able to take my market access and turn it into volume and panel plants that I have an ownership interest in. Hence, for the merger here or Terry Gou's investment in Sharp and in Sakai city. And the logic is, he will take his market access, fill up Sakai City and be able to take this new technology as well as some of the existing technology, and be able to greatly enhance the position of the non-Korean panel manufacturing industry. So that is the state of logic of the transaction. If that is indeed how it plays out, given our position in Sakai City, that would be a very favorable outcome for us.

Simona Jankowski - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Right. So, in that scenario, you would expect utilization to rise and indirectly you'd gain share in that situation?

Wendell P. Weeks

In that situation, if that it is the way, indeed, that it plays out. It's early days. So sometimes industrial logic of transactions doesn't carry its way all the way through to reality. Sometimes it does and it's better. It's just a little early for us to be able to call it definitively.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of Carter Shoop from KeyBanc.

Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

First question. Assuming you increase inventory levels at the wholly-owned Display division in 2Q, can you comment on the magnitude of that increase?

James B. Flaws

It would not be significant such that you would notice the impact in our results.

Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay, that's helpful. And then, in response to a question by a particularly sensitive analyst, you mentioned that China won't be a drag to gross margins in the third quarter when that comes on line. Are you suggesting it's not going to be a net decline in gross margins? Are you saying that the increase won't impact at all? Because, I know when we brought on the Gen 10 Facility, obviously a much larger facility. I think it was 2.5 points drag to corporate gross margins in June '09 quarter. So you don't expect any drag there whatsoever. Is that accurate?

James B. Flaws

My comments was, I do not expect a drag on Display margins in Q3 from the start up of a tank in China. Going back to the Sakai City, it was a very large facility. And remember, both the Display business and Corning, Inc., were much smaller then. But definitely, I don't expect to see a drag from China based on what I know today with how we're going to phase the start up.

Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Great. And then just 2 housekeeping questions if I may. Did you say what Gorilla Glass sales were in the quarter? If so I missed that, and if you didn't, could you provide that?

James B. Flaws

We did not and we are not providing.

Carter B. Shoop - KeyBanc Capital Markets Inc., Research Division

Okay. And then on the acquisition, the BD acquisition. When you say it's going to be slightly accretive in 2013, what type of financing are you assuming in that calculation? Is that a WAC or is that using cash financing?

James B. Flaws

We're doing it all with our cash, which we earn nothing on.

Operator

Our next question comes from the line of George Notter from Jefferies.

George C. Notter - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

I guess, if I look back on pricing historically, you had these catch up scenarios play out where Corning, for periods of time, has experienced more moderate rates of price erosion. And then we found, 4 or 5 quarters down the line, that you've been kind of out of whack a bit relative to your competitors and you've had to catch-up period where your pricing comes down more aggressively. Do you think that scenario could play out here going forward? I guess, in other words, I'm wondering if you see everyone kind of behaving like you guys in terms of price erosion for the next few quarters?

James B. Flaws

Well, I would say, clearly, our hope is that we are getting back to moderate price declines for ourselves. And we're hopeful that, that's what the entire industry is going to do. And it'd be pure speculation for me to say how long that would last. I mean, our hope is that it continues for a long period of time.

Wendell P. Weeks

Just one other point because of your lead-in on the logic flow I just want to touch on, which is -- usually, us, relative to our competition, yes, we indeed get a premium. That premium has that sort of couple 3% range of premium. That within that, we can maintain our share position at a given customer. Above that, pressures increase. So it's not so much that our -- we're not deliberately trying to expand that premium and that our competitors are dropping lower than us. Usually, what leads to this sort of disconnect, and more catch-up, is when market demand is very different than glass supply and our competition moves more aggressively on price in a given quarter. And then we are usually more restrained in our reaction and that's what tends to open up the gap. Just want to make sure, logic flow, we're all seeing it the same way.

George C. Notter - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

That's very helpful. And then just switching gears real quickly. Any new perspectives on capital spending relative to what you guys were talking about that the Analyst Day? I think $1.8 billion this year and $1.2 billion to $1.3 billion for next.

James B. Flaws

No change to that. We still expect a decline in 2013. So you should count on those numbers.

Kenneth Sofio

Operator, it's Ken. I recognize we're coming up on the market open and with respect to people's time, so we'll take one more call.

Operator

Our last question comes from the line of Wamsi Mohan from Bank of America.

Wamsi Mohan - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

Can you give us, maybe, some indication of concentration now in Gorilla Glass versus where you where a year ago? There were a lot more devices that we're being launched, new devices. It seems like a lot of them have really not met with market success and it's been concentrated with a few key players that really have shown success. I'm trying to understand if we should expect significant volatility in this business outside of the supply chain issues that Wendell alluded to earlier. And what risk, if any, do you see from any substitution of alternative materials? And I have a follow-up.

James B. Flaws

So I'll comment on concentration. I think that, in smartphones, we're seeing demand by a number of players. The things that you referred to, last year, really were the launch of the early tablets by some people who didn't do that well. But we are seeing broad-based demand in smartphones for Gorilla. Wendell, you want to comment on competition?

Wendell P. Weeks

Yes. So competition continues to be about the same as it was last year, which is, there has been competition throughout last year. There is competition now. We've been blessed with continuing to have our very strong position. The change between Gorilla Glass 1 and Gorilla Glass 2 sort of reestablished an advantage again. Enabling customers to go about 20% thinner and have the same strength. And so, following our classic model, which is do a combination of product-leading innovation, together with strong process work to develop competitive cost advantage, that typical model for us continues to work right now in Gorilla. And hopefully more innovation to come, so watch this space.

Wamsi Mohan - BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division

And as my follow-up here, you mentioned oxide TFT several times today. So I'm curious to get your opinion on the possibility of the use of lower quality alkali glass as one of the 2 sheets of glass if oxide does become the backplane technology of choice?

Wendell P. Weeks

That's a very good question. So, oxide TFT is going to require 2, probably, higher performance pieces of glass relative to what it is, is used today. And that mainly has to do with that the backplane is more challenging. If the backplane is more challenging, then you're creating an overall sandwich and then you want to match the expansion rates between the top and the bottom of that device. If you have an alkali containing glass in the top, first, you have the potential for poisoning in these relatively complicated electronics packages. But also, you have different rates of thermal expansion. So those factors will tend to bring you into a more concentrated approach of 2 pieces of technical glass. You hear the more 1-piece, 2 pieces of glass when you hear about OLEDs and especially those OLEDs that are a little bit lower pixel count and whether or not it's bottom emission or top emission. Bottom emission has the potential to use a different encapsulant material other than glass because it's coming out the bottom. The top of it doesn't necessarily need to be transparent. Most of the work that we are seeing, right now go on, is leaning towards the technology node of 2 pieces of glass. But this is going to be a continually evolving technology as the industry seeks true differentiation.

James B. Flaws

Yes. Just a couple of quick comments at the end. First of all, we're going to have a fairly robust Investor Relations schedule over the next months. There are actually 4 conferences. First, we'll be at Jefferies Global Conference in New York City on May 8; and then we'll be in the JPMorgan TMT Conference in Boston on May 15; and back in New York City at the Barclays TMT Conference on May 22; and finally, at the Bernstein Strategic Decisions Conference in New York City on May 31. So hopefully, you gather we'll be on the road a lot. We would love to see you all in person. Lastly, our annual shareholder meeting is going to be held tomorrow, right here in Corning, New York. Staring at 11:00. If you happen to be in the Corning area, please stop by. But for those who can't, we will be audio-casting on the website, for the speeches. And to wrap up, we've just completed 4 months of the year and we continue to feel very good about our results. Our non-display businesses are all performing well and continue to demonstrate the growth potential we've been anticipating. And in Display, we're more encouraged now, than we were just a few months ago, especially on the pricing front. We're looking forward to continuing this momentum as we head into the second quarter and we will continue to keep you updated along the way. Ken?

Kenneth Sofio

Thank you, Jim, and thank you all for joining us today. A playback of the call, available beginning at 10:30 AM Eastern Time today. It'll run till 5 PM Eastern Time on Wednesday, April 25. To listen, dial (800) 475-6701, the access code is 244213. And the audio cast, of course, available on our website during this time. Operator, that concludes our call, please disconnect all lines.

Operator

Thank you.

Kenneth Sofio

Thank you all.

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