I have written about Corning Inc. (NYSE:GLW) several times. Once when I first purchased it, and when I changed my mind (check this out). Given that Corning has now partnered with Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) in building the new "Surface" tablet with Gorilla Glass, this could mean the difference between a share price stuck in the middle of nowhere to a serious rise to the mid-$20s within a 12 month period.
The use of Gorilla Glass not only separates Microsoft's "Surface" from the Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) iPad with a premium surface structure, it also enables Corning to finally ensconce itself into a very high-profile product launch which quite frankly it has been lacking.
From the TimesUnion.com article here, the author states; "I love the available *gasp* PORT! A USB 3 port to be exact. Flexibility! The MS Surface will have a 10.6″ Gorilla Glass screen and weigh less than 2 pounds. It will be available in anywhere from 32gigs to 128 gigs depending on which model you choose."
Not surprisingly, Gorilla Glass is the highest margin product in its array of flat surface glass products, and has long been hailed as the finest product of its kind. If the new Surface tablet bites into Apple's sales to any significant degree, then Corning stands to profit both in much higher revenues, profits and overall margins. That will reverse the trend that Corning has faced for nearly a year when they lost a large customer in South Korea due to pricing. You can review that issue in this report.
Added to this development is the newest product launch by Corning of its ultra thin and flexible surface glass called " Willow Glass." This product has the potential to be used on curved surfaces which will give Corning an exclusive as those types of products that have a curved surface, comes to the market. The question is will there be enough of those products to make an impact? Take note of this article which explains how the product could be used in other markets:
"The ultra-slim and flexible features of Corning Willow glass make it a potential market leading display surface of the future. The company is currently providing samples of the glass to customers in display and touch applications. While Corning Willow has currently been launched as an advanced display surface, the company is exploring further applications of the glass in solar and lighting applications."
It seems like this product could be used quite extensively in other market sectors which makes this product proprietary in nature with more ability to enhance margins for Corning.
Let's not forget the fundamentals of Corning either. The company has one of the sweetest balance sheets around with nearly $6.2 billion in cash and only $3.1 billion in debt.
Its margins are quite lofty at 31.9% and its price to book value is just .93%. All things being equal, the share price is undervalued. Now that it will have some wind beneath its wings, Corning could finally shake off the "dead money" syndrome, and perform like the A-class company that it has always been.
Keep in mind that Corning also delivers a dividend of 2.3% which gives it a bit more appeal in any portfolio. My opinion here is that now is a good time to consider owning shares.
Once the "Gorilla" breaks out of it's cage, there is no telling where it can go!