Oct. 28, 2014, 7:18 AM
Oct. 27, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Oct. 23, 2014, 5:01 PM
- Along with its Q3 results, Maxwell (NASDAQ:MXWL) has announced it's partnering with Corning (NYSE:GLW) to develop new ultracapacitor technologies.
- The companies declare "Maxwell's expertise in ultracapacitor cell design, manufacturing processes and market-leading capacitive energy storage product designs" will be paired with "Corning's expertise in high-performance materials, analytical capabilities and technology innovations." They aim to address tech challenges related to "energy density, lifetime, operating environment, form factor and cost."
- MXWL +14.9% AH thanks to the partnership, its Q3 beat, and its Q4 guidance: The company expects revenue to be up "as much as" 20%-25% Q/Q. That implies a range of $49.9M-$52M, well above a $44.4M consensus. Strong demand from the Chinese hybrid bus and wind energy markets are contributing to the growth.
Oct. 14, 2014, 10:11 AM
- In spite of its September/October selloff, BofA/Merrill's Wamsi Mohan has downgraded Corning (GLW +0.1%) to Neutral, and cut his target by $4 to $20.
- Mohan cites the potential for slowing TV unit growth (tough World Cup comps and China's delayed HD transition), slower-than-expected 4K TV growth, a lack of a pickup in Gorilla Glass growth (previously hurt by inventory corrections), and a weak yen.
- His 2015 and 2016 EPS estimates have been cut by $0.07 apiece. Corning's Q3 report arrives on Oct. 28.
Oct. 7, 2014, 1:44 PM
- In the wake of GT Advanced's (GTAT +132.5%) bankruptcy filing, the WSJ reports Apple (AAPL -0.2%) chose not to use sapphire cover glass for the iPhone 6 following tests in which sapphire "proved brittle, cracking when phones were dropped from various heights and angles."
- A September Time column noted this potential issue (among others). iPhone Gorilla Glass supplier Corning (GLW -1.1%) must be pleased to see the report.
- The WSJ also reports (not surprisingly) Apple is withholding a final $139M prepayment to GT, which depended on operational targets being hit.
- Susquehanna thinks Apple may take possession of the GT sapphire equipment at Apple's Mesa, AZ facility, given its prepayments ($440M to date) were "structured as secured debt." GT shares are rebounding today, but are still only at $1.85.
- An App Store support page indicates 47% of iOS users are now on iOS 8, up just slightly from 46% as of Sep. 21. Bugs related to mobile connectivity (since fixed) and iCloud Drive could be slowing uptake, as might complaints about Wi-Fi speeds and battery life.
- Digitimes, historically better at reporting on supply chain activity than new product features, reports Apple has two 12.9" iPad prototypes: One is a standard tablet, and the other a 2-in-1 device supporting both iOS and Mac OS.
- Tim Cook famously panned the idea of an integrated tablet/PC. Moreover, iOS and Mac OS currently rely on different CPU architectures - the former uses ARM, and the latter x86.
- Digitimes also reports Apple has boosted iPhone 6 Plus production relative to the iPhone 6, following strong 6 Plus demand. Fiksu's data still shows the iPhone 6 having a 3.8x usage edge over the supply-constrained 6 Plus. However, early Chinese registration data showed a nearly even split between the phones.
Oct. 6, 2014, 2:08 PM
- Corning (GLW +1%) has gradually moved higher after Apple sapphire supplier GT Advanced filed for Chap. 11 bankruptcy. GT hasn't yet provided details about the role Apple played in its move.
- Corning sold off last year after GT announced a major partnership with Apple. Last month, Apple announced two of its three Apple Watch models will feature sapphire cover glass, but it opted against using sapphire to cover the iPhone 6's displays - all signs suggest Gorilla Glass is being used.
Sep. 6, 2014, 8:43 AM
- The "total" yield of a company combines the dividend yield and the buyback yield - that is the yield boost from reducing the total amount of shares outstanding. Together with S&P's Howard Silverblatt, Barron's puts together a list of the top 20 companies in the S&P 500 based on "total" yield.
- While buybacks don't guarantee a strong stock - witness consistent buyback champs like IBM and Kohl's (NYSE:KSS) - Warren Buffett goes to bed at night praying for IBM's share price to go down so the company can buy back more stock for a given dollar amount (though The Oracle has said he doesn't expect this logic to win many fans).
- The flip-side are those companies - financials and energy come to mind - who tend to buy back stock at high prices only to find themselves forced to reissue it at lower prices when times get tough. A consistent plan helps, and Travelers (NYSE:TRV), under CEO Jay Fishman, has been maybe the best example of this - halving the share count since the end of 2006.
- ETFs? The Powershares Buyback Achievers Portfolio (NYSEARCA:PKW) gained 45.6% in 2013, 1,300 basis points better than the S&P 500. Since inception in 2006, it's up an annualized 9%, more than 200 basis points better than the S&P. A newcomer - the Cambria Shareholder Yield ETF (NYSEARCA:SYLD) - has beaten the S&P by about 250 basis points since its May 2013 inception.
- The list (ranked in order of "total" yield): ADT, CAM, CF, MOS, MPC, VIAB, GLW, ITW, STX, IBM, NOC, CTL, TRV, VRSN, IR, CCE, KSS, NTAP, HES, DO.
Aug. 20, 2014, 1:27 PM
- Following a CC with compound semi consulting firm Yole Development about GT Advanced's (GTAT -2.4%) supply deal with Apple, CLSA's Mark Heller reports Yole believes at least one iPhone featuring sapphire cover glass will launch next month. However, it also thinks GT and Apple's sapphire finishing suppliers "are still struggling with yields."
- Yole estimates Apple's all-in sapphire cost is at a steep $25 for a 4.7" display, assuming a 30% growth yield and 60% finishing yield - that's over 8x the $3 cost estimate other analysts have provided for Gorilla Glass (GLW +1.5%) panels. GT is assigned an $8.90 ASP.
- At the same time, Yole thinks costs could drop to $16 if growth and finishing yields respectively improve to 60% and 75%, boosting GT's margins along the way.
- Heller writes Yole's base scenario suggests only 4.7M 4.7" sapphire displays, or 3M 5.5" displays, will be available by September. Worth noting: With Apple having reportedly placed orders for 70M-80M iPhone 6 units, those numbers appear conservative in the event at least one of the models fully uses sapphire.
- Corning is moving higher. The company stated last month Gorilla Glass sales have been hurt by "lower-than-expected sales for planned new models."
- Earlier: CLSA downgrades GT Advanced to Underperform
Jul. 29, 2014, 9:29 AM
- Corning's (NYSE:GLW) Q2 gross margin was 41.6%, +60 bps Q/Q but -300 bps Y/Y and driving the quarter's EPS miss.
- Contributing to the margin pressure: specialty materials (Gorilla Glass) sales, which tend to carry higher margins, were roughly flat Y/Y at $298M. Gorilla Glass sales missed expectations due to soft retail demand for smartphones/tablets and "lower-than-expected sales for planned new models." That could be a reference to Apple's sapphire production ramp ahead of the iPhone 6 launch.
- On the other hand, LCD glass division sales (boosted by the Samsung deal) rose 62% Y/Y to $1.1B, with glass volumes growing by a low-teens % Q/Q (better than expected). Price declines were moderate, as expected.
- Optical communications (fiber) sales were also better than expected, rising 14% to $601M. Environmental Technologies grew 25% to $285M thanks to demand for diesel emission control products, and life sciences rose 2% to $223M.
- Q3 guidance: LCD glass volumes will rise by a mid-single digit % Q/Q, with price declines moderating further; optical will grow by a mid-single digit % Y/Y, environmental will grow 20%-25% Y/Y; specialty materials will grow 10% Q/Q; life sciences will be up slightly Y/Y.
- With revenue up 25% Y/Y, SG&A spend rose 20% Y/Y to $318M, and R&D spend 16% to $208M. $200M was spent on buybacks. Corning has cut its full-year capex guidance by $200M to $1.3B.
- Q2 results, PR
Jul. 29, 2014, 7:31 AM
Jul. 28, 2014, 5:30 PM
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Jun. 20, 2014, 4:05 PM
- Hoping to appeal to germ-conscious gadget buyers (and boost ASPs along the way), Corning (GLW +0.9%) has launched an antimicrobial version of Gorilla Glass.
- The glass relies on ionic silver to kill off bacteria that can gradually form on a well-used touchscreen. The solution is meant not only for mobile devices, but public touch-enabled systems such as kiosks.
- Corning's Specialty Materials sales (Gorilla Glass-driven) are expected to rise 20%-25% Q/Q in Q2, as an inventory overhang dissipates. But a competitive threat from sapphire cover glass looms on the horizon.
- Last year: Corning exec talks new glass markets
Jun. 18, 2014, 2:04 PM
- As rumored, Amazon's (AMZN +0.8%) Fire phone features a 4.7" display (no resolution has been given yet, rumors pegged it at 720p), a Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU (2.2GHz., quad-core), and a 13MP rear camera. (live blog)
- The camera features optical image stabilization, and the display a circular polarizer meant to eliminate glare. The display is protected by Corning's (GLW +0.1%) Gorilla Glass 3.
- Stereo speakers are also on board, and magnetic earbuds with flat cables are bundled. Amazon hasn't yet shown off a 3D display, but pictures of the phone show the four front cameras (one at each corner) expected to enable 3D viewing.
May 23, 2014, 1:45 PM
- Korea's ETNews.com reports Samsung (SSNLF) and LG (LGEIY) are interested in adopting sapphire cover glass for their phones, and recently asked sapphire wafer/ingot makers to submit samples.
- The site adds the companies were previously reluctant to adopt sapphire due to its steep cost, but have changed their minds following Apple's embrace of the technology.
- Like much of the industry, Samsung/LG have been avid users of Corning's (GLW +0.5%) Gorilla Glass. Sapphire cover glass is thinner, stronger, and more scratch-resistant than Gorilla Glass, but also much more costly for now. Samsung took a 7.4% stake in Corning last year as part of a deal to sell its stake in the Samsung Corning JV.
- GT Advanced (GTAT +8%), currently quite busy ramping sapphire production for Apple, has shot higher on the report. Though GT has said its Apple deal "will be subject to certain exclusivity terms during the duration of the agreement," there could still be a long-term opportunity to service other OEMs. Moreover, stronger industry demand stands to improve GT's pricing power.
- SA author Matt Margolis notes the Apple exclusivity deal doesn't cover GT's sapphire laminate solutions (enabled by its Hyperion tech).
- Sapphire wafer vendor Rubicon (RBCN +4.8%) is also up sharply, aided by an Oppenheimer upgrade.
Apr. 28, 2014, 7:55 AM
- Corning's (GLW) Q1 beat was fueled by better-than-expected numbers for its Optical Communications (fiber) and Environmental Technologies units. The former saw sales grow 26% Y/Y to $593M, better than Q4's 12% clip and beating guidance for mid-teens growth. The latter's sales rose 21% to $228M, better than Q4's 9% rate and above guidance for mid-single digit growth.
- Optical sales were boosted by North American demand, and Environmental sales by demand for heavy-duty diesel emissions products.
- Thanks to the Samsung deal, Display Technologies (LCD glass) sales rose 58% Y/Y to $1B. Adjusted volumes rose by a low-single digit % Y/Y, and (as expected) price declines were higher than in recent quarters.
- Specialty Materials (Gorilla Glass) sales rose slightly Y/Y to $261M, and Life Sciences sales rose slightly to $210M. Both units were expected to see flat growth.
- LCD glass volumes are expected to be up by a high-single digit % Q/Q in Q2, and price declines to be "significantly less" than Q1's.
- Guidance for other units: Mid-to-high single-digit Y/Y growth for Optical, low-to-mid teen Y/Y growth for Environmental, 20%-25% Q/Q growth for Specialty Materials (Gorilla Glass demand, end of inventory issues), Life Sciences consistent with a year ago.
- Gross margin rose 100 bps Q/A and fell 100 bps Y/Y to 41%. The Samsung deal led op. margin to fall 420 bps to 13.7%, but Corning says it's making "terrific progress" with integration efforts.
- Corning ended with Q1 with $5.6B in cash, and $3.7B in debt.
- Q1 results, PR
Apr. 28, 2014, 7:26 AM
Corning Inc is engaged in manufacturing of specialty glass and ceramics. The Company's segments are Display Technologies, Optical Communications, Environmental Technologies, Specialty Materials and Life Sciences.
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