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Corning's Bright Picture

George Gilder 03.06.07, 12:30 PM ET

Corning is booming better than during the Boom. And for this leading glass house, the past is the future, at least if you're looking for more new records during the coming couple of years as sales of catalytic converters for diesel trucks begin to ramp, as fiber products rejuvenate and as liquid crystal display (LCD) glass goes everywhere.

Longer-term, LCD glass could well repeat the 30-plus year run of cathode ray tubes (CRTs). The king of glassmakers has just three serious rivals in a market with a Himalayan barrier to entry, and it continues to lead the way to larger substrates and crucial process and structural advances.

But, for Corning to remain a solid investment after the LCD "growth spurt" winds down by the end of the decade, it must move beyond a one-product company and succeed outside of LCDs with other ascending technologies, such as in telecom where most of the world's carriers are still nursing aging copper connections, in green lasers for mobile projections devices where it is working with Microvision (nasdaq: MVIS - news - people ), and in micro reactors for chemical processing.

If Corning successfully transitions--and that would be consistent with its history--then today's valuation is cheap indeed.


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