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Corning predicts high-end earnings

The fiber-optics giant says it will hit the high end of estimates for fourth-quarter earnings and outlines its strategy for long-term growth.

Fiber-optics giant Corning said Thursday that it will hit the high end of estimates for fourth-quarter earnings and outlined its strategy for long-term growth.

Corning, which is hosting an analyst meeting Thursday, said it will hit the high end of the range on its estimates for earnings of 26 cents to 28 cents a share for the fourth quarter and $1.15 to $1.17 per share for the full year 2000.

The Corning, N.Y.-based company said it plans to continue its strong growth and maintain its leadership in high-technology markets with its optical fiber and photonic technologies for optical networking and flat-panel glass for liquid crystal displays.

"This company continues to perform in an environment where many tech stocks are not hitting their numbers," said Hugh Evans, an analyst at T. Rowe Price Associates, which owns Corning shares. "Corning continues to meet or beat numbers, and the outlook is as good as it was a year ago."

For the fourth quarter, Corning said year-over-year optical fiber volume growth will be 30 percent to 35 percent. It also confirmed year-over-year revenue growth for its photonic technologies business of 100 percent, with sequential quarterly revenue growth of 25 percent. Year-over-year revenue growth for its LCD business is expected to exceed 70 percent in both the fourth quarter and the full year.

Corning also said it closed the acquisition of Pirelli's Optical Technologies business on Wednesday, and pro forma earnings exclude a $300 million to $500 million charge related to the deal. Analysts said the Pirelli deal will bolster Corning's product portfolio.

For 2001, Corning expects revenue in the range of $9.1 billion to $9.2 billion, up nearly 30 percent from this year, with pro forma earnings per share of $1.40 to $1.43.

The company's 2000 capital spending is expected to be between $1.6 billion to $1.8 billion, and research and development spending will be nearly $550 million, or about 8 percent of revenue. Next year, the company will increase its capital spending to $2.5 billion, and research and development spending will remain at about $725 million to $750 million.

Bloomberg News contributed to this report.