Corning Cuts 4,900 Jobs

Q4 earnings down 65%

Glass maker Corning said on Jan. 27 it will slash 4,900 jobs this year in a restructuring to cope with the recession, reporting unexpectedly sharp plunges in fourth-quarter earnings.

Corning Inc., which makes liquid crystal displays, fiber optics and specialty ceramics among other products, said it will reduce permanent staff by 3,500, or 13% of the total, and cut 1,400 temporary jobs.

The job cuts were announced as the Corning reported fourth-quarter net profit plummeted 65% to $249 million from a year ago, underperforming consensus market expectations.

"We experienced a significant momentum shift in many of our core businesses in the fourth quarter as the recession took hold," Wendell Weeks, Corning chairman and chief executive, said. "As a result, we are adjusting our operations to reflect anticipated lower sales in 2009. We are also moving aggressively to reduce operating expenses and capital spending to continue to meet our goals of positive free cash flow and a healthy balance sheet."

The company said it would book restructuring charges of between $115 and $165 million in the 2009 first quarter, but expected to realize annualized cost savings of $150-$220 million.

James Flaws, vice chairman and chief financial officer, said the company expects "a slow start" to 2009, citing a drop in display volume of up to 25% "as the supply chain continues to reduce inventory during the seasonally weaker retail sales quarter."

Copyright Agence France-Presse, 2009

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