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.
Currently, there's no company description for LGEIY.