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Corning Taking $200M Charge for Asbestos

Mar 29, 2003 | AP Fiber-optics maker Corning Inc. said Friday it will charge $200 million against its earnings in the first quarter to settle asbestos exposure claims.

Over the last 30 years, some 200,000 claims have been filed against Pittsburgh Corning Corp., an insulation products maker jointly owned by Corning and PPG Industries Inc.

The after-tax charge would cover all asbestos claims now and in the future arising from Pittsburgh Corning's products or operations, the company said. The agreement is subject to the approval of a federal bankruptcy court in Pittsburgh.

Pittsburgh Corning, which was created in 1937, reorganized with U.S. Bankruptcy Court protection in April 2000. At that time, Corning recorded an after-tax charge of $36 million to impair its investment in the company.

Corning, the world's biggest maker of optical fiber and cable, recorded a fourth-quarter loss in January of $709 million, its seventh quarterly loss in a row. Its first-quarter earnings are due to be posted April 22.

By the third quarter of this year, however, Corning anticipates making a profit despite persistently weak sales in telecommunications. It cut 8,800 jobs last year on top of 2,000 in 2001, shrinking its worldwide payroll to about 23,500 people.

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