Why? While the Covid-19 outbreak and associated lockdowns resulted in an uncertain outlook for the broader markets, the multi-billion-dollar Fed stimulus announced in late March 2020 helped the markets stage a strong recovery. There was a quicker economic rebound, with economies opening up gradually, given the rise in the global vaccination rate.
However, higher inflation in 2022 led to the Fed raising interest rates, and economic growth is expected to slow down in the near term, likely impacting 2023 sales growth for Corning.
Below are key drivers of Corning's divisions that present opportunities for upside or downside to the current Trefis price estimate for Corning:
The company’s three smaller segments, as mentioned above, have all been growing faster than the underlying industries on account of a myriad of reasons like – Environmental Technologies' growth was driven by the adoption of Corning’s proprietary gasoline particulate filter (GPF) innovation. Specialty Materials growth was led by the adoption of industry-leading cover glass innovations despite smartphone unit sales being down 3%. Life Sciences reached a $1 billion sales milestone in 2019, growing at nearly twice the rate of a strengthening market on account of newer applications, especially in growth categories like cell culture and gene therapy.
Corning is a global technology company that manufactures and processes a variety of products at approximately 119 plants in 15 countries. It makes money primarily through its joint ventures, Samsung Corning and Dow Corning. Samsung Corning manufactures glass substrates for displays which are primarily used in notebook computers, flat-panel desktop monitors, and televisions. Dow Corning manufactures silicone products. Corning's other business segments include environmental technologies, life sciences, and telecommunications.
The display technologies business is the largest contributor to Corning's value.
Corning's Display Technologies segment accounts for nearly 32% of the company's value. Its proprietary fusion-based process produces high-quality glass substrates which are highly uniform, clean, light-weight, and thin, which are important qualities required for manufacturing display screens. The process enables Corning to produce large-sized substrates in a cost-effective manner.
Corning continually invests in R&D to develop innovative products to cater to the demands of display panel manufacturers. Corning launched a new project named Gorilla Glass Victus, its latest version of Gorilla Glass, which is more scratch-resistant than a sapphire-based cover glass and stronger than earlier versions of Gorilla Glass. Gorilla Glass Victus survived drops onto hard and rough surfaces from up to two meters.
Glass manufacturing is a commoditized business where prices are determined solely by factors of supply and demand. Innovations in display glass technology and manufacturing overcapacity have put downward pressure on prices. However, the pricing environment improved in 2022.
Notebook, tablet PC, and television penetration remain low in most emerging markets and developing nations. We expect this demand to increase and drive the growth in global glass shipments.
Consumers prefer larger displays on their TVs, notebooks, tablets, and mobile phones because of the enhanced viewing pleasure. This may drive an increase in demand for television glass and thereby increase shipments. The demand for large-screen televisions is also likely to be driven by new technologies such as Ultra HD, 4K, and 8K, which provide enhanced viewing pleasure on large screen sizes.
The replacement rate for tablets, notebook PCs, and televisions remains high in developed markets. This is expected to create demand for new panels and hence increase the total number of shipments.
Corning believes it has sustained its competitive advantages in glass substrate products by investing in new technologies. This is likely to continue and could keep costs high.
To ensure compliance with emission standards, automobile manufacturers resort to the use of emission control systems. As these standards get even stricter, automobile manufacturers have to upgrade to newer and more effective emission control systems in order to remain compliant. This has a positive impact on the automotive exhaust systems market, which includes manufacturers of automotive substrates and filters.