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Corning Continues To See Demand For Optical Fiber

By Cece Nunn, posted Apr 25, 2017
Officials with Corning, which operates one of the world’s largest optical fiber manufacturing facilities in Wilmington, reported strong first-quarter results Tuesday morning, as the company continues to see demand for that product line.

New York-based Corning Inc.'s financial report included an $86 million net income for the first quarter after a loss during the same period in 2016.

Wendell Weeks, CEO and president of Corning, pointed to last week’s announcement of a major deal with Verizon as one of many signs of success.

“Verizon has committed to purchase at least $1.05 billion of optical fiber and associated solutions from Corning as they reinvent their network to support 5G and new services,” Weeks said in a news release.

The agreement calls for Corning to provide and Verizon to purchase up to 20 million kilometers (12.4 million miles) of optical fiber each year from 2018 to 2020.

Corning's optical communications sales grew by 34 percent during the first quarter, officials said Tuesday.

“We are on track to deliver our 2017 objectives and overall Framework goals. Looking into the second quarter, we expect our momentum to be further demonstrated with year-over-year sales” and earnings-per-share growth, Weeks said in the release.

Corning is investing about $250 million in its Optical Communications business in North Carolina, which will create more than 600 new jobs over the next two years, said Corning spokesman Daniel Collins. 

Collins said for competitive reasons, he could not disclose how many of those jobs -- if any -- might be created at the Wilmington plant. 

“The majority of these are advanced manufacturing jobs that will pay substantially more than the average manufacturing wage in N.C.,” he said in an email.

The Wilmington plant, which is believed to have about 1,000 employees, is not on the list for an upcoming expansion.

“The Wilmington optical fiber facilities is the largest and most technically advanced in the world,” Collins said Tuesday. “Corning made significant capital investments in that facility in previous years.”

Expansions that are planned for Corning in North Carolina include additional optical fiber capacity at the company’s Concord facility and expansion of various cable facilities in Winston-Salem, Hickory and Newton, along with a new Optical Communications headquarters in Charlotte, Collins said.

“These expansions will give us the flexibility needed to export our products into global markets,” he  said.

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