Nov. 5, 2013, 11:03 AM
- GT Advanced (GTAT +23.4%) has caught four upgrades and soared to new 52-week highs after striking a huge sapphire supply deal Apple. Rubicon (RBCN +25.3%) is also flying higher. Corning (GLW -2.9%), meanwhile, is heading in the opposite direction as investors worry Apple (and perhaps also peers) will begin using sapphire instead of Gorilla Glass to cover smartphone/tablet displays.
- The deal still has some skeptics; they point to the fact GT's sapphire materials sales to Apple are expected carry much lower gross margins than its traditional equipment sales, that Apple isn't providing any purchase commitments, and that exclusivity requirements stand to limit GT's sales to other mobile OEMs. But by and large, optimism about the opening of a major new market opportunity long targeted by GT is overshadowing these concerns.
- Cantor is defending Corning, arguing sapphire will more likely be used in small form-factor Apple devices (an iWatch?) than in iPhone/iPad displays. Sterne Agee estimates Apple accounts for 10%-15% of Corning's phone-related sales.
- GT's management refrained from providing additional details about Apple on the CC (transcript); Apple tends to demand heavy secrecy from suppliers. But they did strike an optimistic tone about sapphire pricing and furnace utilization rates among traditional clients, and predicted customers will likely " start taking delivery of backlog at a faster pace, as [GT's] capacity opens up again." GT also claimed to be making good progress in commercializing its Hyperion tech (set for a 2015 launch) for solar applications;
- On the other hand, GT doesn't think the solar equipment market will "show significant opportunity" before 2015.
Nov. 4, 2013, 4:41 PM
- The deal, announced within GT Advanced's (GTAT) Q3 report, calls on GT to supply Apple (AAPL) with sapphire via furnaces the former company will own/operate at an Arizona facility owned by the latter.
- GT plans to employ 700+ people at the facility, and Apple will be providing GT with a $578M prepayment to assist with the efforts. GT will reimburse Apple for the prepayment over five years, starting in 2015.
- The magnitude of the initiative suggests Apple plans to use sapphire cover glass to protect the displays used in future iOS hardware (perhaps including 2014 iPhones/iPads). Rumors about such a move have been around for a while, heightened by Apple's use of sapphire to protect iPhone camera lenses and the iPhone 5S' home button.
- Assuming Apple uses GT's sapphire with iOS hardware displays, the deal is a negative for Gorilla Glass supplier Corning (GLW), particularly since it could encourage other mobile OEMs to embrace sapphire and improve its economies of scale. Sapphire is thinner, stronger, and more scratch-resistant than current cover glass solutions such as Gorilla Glass, but is also much costlier.
- On account of the Apple deal, GT has "accelerated the development of its next generation, large capacity ASF furnaces." The company expects these efforts to aid its efforts to offer next-gen furnaces to traditional customers in other market segments (LEDs, industrial manufacturing, etc.).
- Update: Arizona's governor's office announces Apple will be building a new facility in Mesa, AZ. 1.3K construction jobs will be created to go with GT's 700+ manufacturing jobs. Corning is now down 1.2% AH.
Oct. 23, 2013, 9:11 AM
Oct. 22, 2013, 5:50 PM
Oct. 22, 2013, 4:29 PM
- Corning (GLW) is taking full control of the Samsung Corning LCD glass JV, currently 43%-owned by Samsung Display. Samsung, meanwhile, is buying $2.3B worth of Corning convertible preferred shares via two transactions.
- The deal will give Samsung Display a 7.4% stake in Corning on an as-converted basis. It also features a new display glass supply agreement between the firms that lasts until 2023, and a strengthening of their R&D collaboration.
- The transactions are expected to close in Q1 2014. Corning promises "immediate earnings accretion" and cost synergies.
- Separately, Corning has announced a new $2B buyback, good for repurchasing 7% of outstanding shares at current levels.
- The company also says it expects to report Q3 revenue of $2.1B (+10% Y/Y) and EPS of $0.33 vs. a consensus of $2.1B and $0.32. Q4 numbers are expected to be lower Q/Q, due to seasonality and a major Y/Y drop in optical fiber sales. The consensus is for revenue of $2.11B and EPS of $0.33.
- Full Q3 results arrive on Oct. 30.
- GLW +20.7% AH. CC at 4:30PM ET.
Oct. 11, 2013, 9:23 AM
- Intel (INTC) has been cut to Neutral, and Nvidia (NVDA) to Underperform, by Macquarie. Intel's Q3 report arrives on Tuesday. Intel -0.6% premarket, Nvidia -0.9%.
- Micron (MU) has been cut to Underperform by Wells Fargo following its FQ4 results (I, II) and FQ1 pricing guidance. Shares -2.1%.
- Synaptics (SYNA) has been cut to Neutral by JPMorgan two days after announcing the Validity Sensors deal and forecasting strong FQ1 sales. Shares -1.5%.
- Corning (GLW) has been cut to Neutral by Piper. Shares -1%.
- Iron Mountain (IRM) has been cut to Underweight by Barclays a day after announcing CFO Brian McKeon is leaving. Shares -2.2%.
- LG Display (LPL) has been upgraded to Buy by Citi.
- Diodes (DIOD) has been upgraded to Buy by Longbow.
Jul. 17, 2013, 12:34 PMThe iPhone 5S (AAPL +0.1%) will feature an "indestructible Liquidmetal case," thinks BGR's Jonathan S. Geller after analyzing previously-leaked SIM tray pictures and finding similarities with Vertu luxury phones that used the material. Liquidmetal (LQMT.OB +68.5%) shares have soared on the pink sheets thanks to the report. Geller also thinks (but doesn't elaborate as to why) the 5S might use sapphire cover glass; if true, that's a positive for GT Advanced (GTAT +0.4%), and an incremental negative for Gorilla Glass maker Corning (GLW -0.8%). Separately (take this one with a big spoonful of salt), Taiwan's Commercial Times reports the 5S may be delayed until year's end in order to support a 4.3" display. | 20 Comments
Jun. 19, 2013, 5:30 PM
Jan. 11, 2013, 11:01 AMCorning (GLW -3.5%) heads south following a downgrade to Neutral from Goldman. The firm argues the catalysts that drove its September upgrade - improving LCD industry fundamentals and capital allocation moves - are mostly played out in the wake of Corning's Q3 beat and Q4 pre-announcement. Moreover, it sees forex and a Q1 LCD inventory correction producing downside to estimates. Corning closed yesterday right around where it was when Goldman made its upgrade. | 7 Comments
Dec. 13, 2012, 1:42 PMAU Optronics (AUO +7.9%) is posting huge gains, apparently thanks to favorable comments from rival LCD supplier Chimei Innolux. Chimei says it expects 2013 sales to rise 10%, welcome news for an industry hit hard in 2012 by slumping TV demand. AU's gains come in spite of a Digitimes report claiming the company's capacity will drop 7% this month due to a "high voltage circuit drop" at a Taiwanese facility. LCD glassmaker Corning (GLW +0.7%) is outperforming, but LG Display (LPL -1.6%) isn't. | 3 Comments
Nov. 27, 2012, 9:10 AM
Nov. 27, 2012, 8:23 AMCorning (GLW) +8% after raising its guidance ahead of a conference presentation. Thanks to better-than-expected demand for LCD TVs and other electronics, Corning now expects its Q4 LCD glass volume to be "up in the mid-single digits" Q/Q, after previously guiding for volume to be flat to down slightly. Corning's Q4 pricing guidance is reaffirmed, but it thinks price declines will moderate in Q1. Also, Q4 Specialty Materials sales are now expected to rise 5% Q/Q (prior guidance was for flat growth) thanks to strong Gorilla Glass sales. | 3 Comments
Oct. 24, 2012, 10:55 AMCorning (GLW -8.4%) plummets after guiding in its Q3 report for Q4 glass volumes to be flat to down by "a low-single digit percentage" Q/Q, with accelerating price declines taking place along the way. During its earnings call, Corning also noted its gross margin will decline in Q4, and that its telecom glass business (hurt by a weak capex environment) won't meet its 2012 growth target. The company says it has "no plans" to boost LCD glass capacity. | 20 Comments
Oct. 24, 2012, 7:38 AMMore on Corning (GLW) Q3 earnings: "The weakening economy is affecting sales in many of our businesses ... We believe these economic headwinds will persist to next year ... We are likely to implement selected cost reductions." Price declines in the display business in Q4 are expected to outpace those in the previous 2 Qs. Shares -1.5% premarket. Earnings call is at 8:30 ET. (PR) | 3 Comments
Sep. 19, 2012, 9:32 AMCorning (GLW +2.9%) opens higher on an upgrade to Buy from Goldman. The firm sees Corning, which trades below book value, delivering positive EPS growth (on a Y/Y basis) for the first time in two years in Q4 thanks to stabilizing LCD glass fundamentals (the result of supply controls). It also expects the LCD business' share of net income to fall to 74% in 2013 from 96% in '09, and Corning''s FCF yield to grow to 6%. The demand environment for LCD TVs has been anything but pretty. (previous) | 2 Comments
Sep. 10, 2012, 2:38 PMPositive comments from Piper Jaffray are helping GT Advanced Technologies (GTAT +8.5%) shoot higher today. Piper thinks sapphire panels manufactured using GT's equipment could carry a price premium relative to Corning's (GLW) Gorilla Glass in mobile device applications. GT has been struggling to cope with weak demand from its core LED and solar equipment markets. | 4 Comments
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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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