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Quake Disrupts Corning Glass Plant In Japan

Tue, 08/11/2009 - 12:26pm
Ben Dobbin, AP Business Writer

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (AP) — Corning Inc. said Tuesday its output of liquid-crystal-display glass will be lower than expected in the third quarter after an earthquake halted glass production at a plant in Japan.

Operations at its factory in Shizuoka, southwest of Tokyo, "are currently suspended and we believe they will remain so for some time," said Corning's chief financial officer, James Flaws. "We are assessing options to meet customer demand and accelerating the restart of idled glass melting tanks at other facilities."

After experiencing a dramatic turnaround in demand this year for its ultra-thin glass used in flat-screen televisions, computers and electronic products, Corning said the shutdown will reduce sales by an estimated $65 million in the July-September quarter.

It anticipates that third-quarter volume at its wholly owned glass business will drop 5 percent to 10 percent compared with the second quarter. It had expected shipments to be flat or up slightly.

"While it is easy to get discouraged by events that are out of our control, we are equally encouraged by our July results, which came in stronger than we anticipated," Flaws said.

Shizuoka was the area hardest hit by a 6.5-magnitude quake that hit central Japan on Tuesday. One person was killed and more than 100 injured.

There were no reports of injuries at the Corning plant.

"There's no structural damage and there was no fire," said spokeswoman Kelli Hopp-Michlosky. "We are dealing with a misalignment of glassmaking equipment that we need to remedy. We don't know the full scope of that yet."

Corning's newest plant in Sakai City, near Osaka, which began producing glass sheets this year, was not affected by the earthquake.

LCD glass is Corning's biggest business. The 157-year-old company, based in the city of Corning in western New York, also makes optical fiber and cable and auto-pollution filters.

Corning shares fell 37 cents, or 2.3 percent, to close at $16.01 Tuesday. Its shares have ranged from $7.36 to $21.76 over the past 52 weeks.

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