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Smartphone screen maker Corning beats revenue, profit estimates

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(Reuters) – Apple supplier Corning Inc bucked the trend for shaky phone and chipmaker results on Tuesday, beating expectations for both revenue and profit in the fourth quarter, helped by demand from telecom companies looking to upgrade their networks to 5G.

Shares of the company, which makes screen glasses and optical fibre products, rose 5.4 percent to $32.00 before the opening bell.

Telecom companies across the world have been ramping up their efforts to build high-speed next-generation 5G network, driving up demand for optical fibre.

Net sales from Corning’s optical communications division surged 26 percent to $1.17 billion in the fourth quarter, as the company secured more contracts from companies upgrading their networks. The division is on track to surpass its 2020 sales goal of $5 billion, Corning said.

Corning’s net sales from its speciality materials unit, which makes Gorilla Glass used in smartphones, tablets and notebook PCs, rose just 2 percent to $399 million after several quarters of rapid growth.

Smartphone makers Apple and Samsung have warned investors about weakening demand from China, with several mobile component suppliers following their suit.

Corning reported net income of $292 million (222 million pounds), or 32 cents per share, compared with a loss of $1.41 billion, or $1.66 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales rose to $3.04 billion from $2.64 billion.

Excluding items, the company earned 59 cents per share.

Analysts on average had expected a profit of 57 cents per share on revenue of $3.01 billion.

(Reporting by Munsif Vengattil in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel)

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