Corning Maintains Display Glass Industry Leadership With Innovation

| About: Corning Inc. (GLW)
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Quick Take
  • Corning recently launched the second-generation Lotus XT glass for high performance display devices. This glass will help make display devices like tablets and smartphones lighter, faster, brighter and more power efficient.
  • It will also lower manufacturing costs for panel manufacturers like Samsung by improving their production yields. These significant advantages brought about by the Lotus XT glass will help Corning maintain its leadership position in the display glass market.

In an industry driven by demands of an ever better viewing experience, Corning (NYSE:GLW) has enabled television, flat panel desktop monitor, notebook, tablet and smartphone manufacturers like Samsung, Toshiba, Sony and others to offer their customers an improved viewing experience through the launch of Corning Lotus XT glass. This glass which was launched in mid-May, can withstand higher temperatures compared to its previous version – Corning Lotus glass. This improved thermal stability apart from bringing about better picture quality allows for more efficient manufacturing, which lowers production costs for Corning’s customers – the panel manufacturers such as Samsung.

The Lotus XT glass is part of Corning’s Display Technologies segment, which manufactures glass substrates for LCDs (liquid crystal displays) or OLEDs (organic light emitting diode) used in televisions, desktop monitors, notebook computers, tablets and mobile phones. In 2012, the Display Technologies segment had constituted 36% of Corning’s $8 billion revenues.

We currently have a stock price estimate of $14.25 for Corning, around 10% below its current market price.

Corning Lotus XT Glass Benefits Consumers And Panel Manufacturers

Consumers today want their display devices, including televisions and smartphones, to come with higher resolution and be lighter, brighter, thinner and stronger. Among the various components involved in the manufacture of a display device, glass plays a very prominent role in improving all these qualities. The production of a high performance display device requires manufacturing to take place at high temperatures. Corning’s Lotus XT glass due to its improved thermal and dimensional stability allows for manufacturing to take place at higher temperatures bringing about many of the qualities desired by consumers.

At the same time, the ability of the glass to withstand high temperatures allows for improved production yields which lowers manufacturing costs for panel manufacturers.

Innovation Will Help Corning Maintain Its Leadership Position

Today, panel manufacturers are competing with each other to differentiate their display devices on several fronts, including thickness, weight, picture quality, power consumption and cost. Corning’s innovation in display glass which brings about a positive change on all these fronts will help it maintain its leadership position in the display glass market.

Barely a week after the commercial launch of Lotus XT glass, Tianma Micro-Electronics Group selected the second-generation Lotus glass for its low temperature polysilicon (LTPS) panels. Tianma is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of LCD panels in the small-to-medium size screen segment. Its LTPS panels are used in 4-6 inch smartphones and 7-10 inch tablets that feature resolutions of 350-450 pixels per inch.

Additionally, the launch of Lotus XT glass was preceded by development of several other innovative display glasses by Corning. In 2006, Corning introduced EAGLE XG LCD display glass substrate which is free of heavy metals. In 2010, it introduced EAGLE XG Slim glass, which brought about thinner LCD televisions and lighter portable display devices. Then in 2011, it launched the Lotus glass which enabled high performance displays, and in 2012, it introduced ultra-slim and flexible Willow glass which can offer display on curved surfaces.

Disclosure: No positions.