With optic cable sales sluggish in China and the company lagging in the fiber to the home market, Flaws says prospects for the third quarter are riding on increased sales of liquid crystal display, or LCD, monitors and TVs.
"There's no robustness in telecom" and the emissions business is "flattish," he says. "So it comes down to the display business," Flaws said in an interview late Tuesday after the company posted
solid second quarter results.
Corning makes the glass that LCD panel makers fashion into computer monitors and flat panel TVs. With LCD monitors now accounting for 67% of computer screen sales, the next segment poised for growth is LCD TVs, says Flaws.
"We are focused on televisions this quarter," says Flaws, who predicts a sequential sales increase for the display business of between 10% and 20%. "We are very pleased with how the prices have come down on televisions, down 40% in the past year," says Flaws. In Corning's view, lower TV prices equate to higher sales volumes and greater demand for more glass.
But while skeptics applaud Corning's dominance of the LCD glass supply market, they worry that the company is selling to a volatile group of TV makers and retailers that are prone to price wars and unpredictable demand cycles.
Taking the big picture view, Flaws says he still expects total LCD glass volume to increase "north of 50%" this year, compared to last year's total.
Late Tuesday, Corning rose 30 cents to $18.50.