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Corning to Invest $450 Million to Expand N.C. Facility

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Corning's

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board has approved a plan to invest $450 million to expand a North Carolina optical fiber manufacturing facility.

Corning estimated that its expansion programs will allow the company to increase fiber manufacturing capacity by at least 25% a year through 2004. The fiber-optic cable company, based in Corning, N.Y., said the expansion will make its Concord, N.C., plant the largest fiber plant in the world.

Corning, which named a

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new chief executive yesterday, also said advanced funding has been approved for preliminary engineering activities and site selection for a new U.S. optical fiber manufacturing plant.

The company expects to begin construction on the Concord facility immediately, with the additional capacity being realized in 2003 and 2004. The company expects to begin development plans for the new site in the first half of 2001, with initial production expected in 2004.

Shares of Corning were recently down 3.4%, or $2.38, to $67.38 on the

New York Stock Exchange

.