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Corning shelves expansion plans

The company gives its investors some more bad news when it confirms it will delay the construction of an optical-fiber manufacturing site in a cost-cutting measure.

Corning gave its investors some more bad news Thursday when it confirmed it will delay the construction of an optical-fiber manufacturing site as the company continues to cut costs.

Shares in the giant seller of optical fibers fell 12 cents to $19.40 by market close Thursday, off more than 83 percent from a 52-week high of $113.33 established in September.

Company executives said construction on the Oklahoma City, Okla., project will be put on the back burner for the next 12 to 18 months, meaning the site won't begin cranking out fiber until late 2004 or early 2005.

It also announced it will slow the expansion of its Concord, N.C., plant and likely will not see additional fiber at the site until the first half of 2002.

In its release, Corning said the reduced production is necessary to "pace its growth" and rate of capital spending with current market conditions.

Earlier this quarter, Corning lowered its 2001 sales and earnings expectations for the third time and announced it would eliminate about 2,500 jobs.

It now expects to post a second-quarter profit of between 18 cents and 21 cents a share on sales of between $1.8 billion and $1.9 billion, down from analysts' revised estimates of 28 cents a share and $1.98 billion, respectively.

Last quarter, Corning pocketed $277 million, or 29 cents a share.