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Corning beats quarterly sales estimates, signals improving demand for fiber optics

FILE PHOTO: A screen displays the logo for Corning Inc. at the NYSE in New York

(Reuters) -Specialty glass maker Corning beat Wall Street estimates for fourth-quarter adjusted sales on Tuesday and said it was seeing increasing demand for its optical fiber cables used in data centers that process more generative artificial intelligence applications.

Shares of Corning, whose Gorilla Glass is used in smartphones by the likes of Samsung and Apple, rose nearly 7%.

Quarterly sales in the optical communications segment fell just 2% from the previous quarter as demand for fiber optic cables improved.

The business, which accounts for a third of total sales, has been grappling with slowing demand for its fiber cables from the telecom sector.

"We remain confident that optical communications market will normalize... and from an order rate perspective, we are beginning to see green shoots in the hyperscale data center space," CEO Wendell Weeks said on a post-earnings call.

The company reported adjusted sales of $3.27 billion in the fourth quarter, above analysts' estimates of $3.26 billion, per LSEG data.

Adjusted gross margin in the quarter grew by 330 basis points, benefiting from higher prices. On an adjusted basis, the company earned 39 cents per share that met expectations.

Still, Corning forecast adjusted profit between 32 cents and 38 cents per share, below estimates of 39 cents. It expects core sales at about $3.1 billion for the current quarter, in line with expectations.

"We anticipate the first quarter to be the low quarter of the year and to drive profitable, durable growth over the long term," finance chief Ed Schlesinger said in a statement.

(Reporting by Priyanka.G in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)