Is Corning Incorporated (GLW) Still a Great Investment?

Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) predicts LCD glass volume will grow in 2013; telecom sales of fiber optic cable are expected to advance; Gorilla Glass will swing from the trees as smartphones and tablets continue to fly off the shelves; heavy-duty diesel truck markets will boost its environmental sciences division in 2013; and acquisitions should benefit the life sciences segment.

Apple of my eye
Although the concept of wearable technology like the iWatch mentioned before and Google Inc (NASDAQ:GOOG)‘s eyeglass-mounted computer really spark the imagination. If smartphones and tablets didn’t give Corning the necessary footprint to match the decline in LCD sales, then an even smaller watch face or eyeglass lens will hardly help it, either.

In the end, I find it’s Corning’s traditional business lines — the fiber optic cable of its telecom segment — that will make the glassmaker a great investment going forward. The division represents more than a quarter of Corning’s sales and optical fiber and cable growth shows no sign of abating anytime soon. Corning expects its telecom business to double this year with rapidly expanding data storage requirements, instant access to that data is demanded, bandwidth demand quadruples, and networks will be required to make major investments in optical infrastructure to meet expectations.

Particularly in China, which helped fuel sales growth in 2012 and accounts for 26% of net sales — more than any other country, and up from less than 20% in 2011 — emerging markets will be what pushes all of Corning’s business higher.

At 11 times earnings and nine times estimates, I still find Corning Incorporated (NYSE:GLW) cheap. Particularly with its enterprise value trading at just 11 times its free cash flow, investors wouldn’t be a monkey’s uncle putting this stock in their portfolio.

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Fool contributor Rich Duprey owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Apple, Corning, and Google.

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