Specialty glass maker Corning Inc posted better-than-expected quarterly profit, boosted by cost cutting and improving demand for glass for flat screen televisions and computer monitors.

Corning, which has closed glass making plants and shed jobs in order to shrink its underlying costs, said it has seen signs of rebounding demand from its TV manufacturing


It was satisfying to see the continued strength of LCD (liquid crystal display) TV sales at retail worldwide throughout the first quarter, said chief executive officer Wendell Weeks. We were also pleased to see demand for our glass pick up sooner than we anticipated.

Although TV manufacturers bought less glass in recent quarters, Corning expected that once inventories ran low they would resume purchases. Chief Financial Officer Jim Flaws said glass demand improved from panel makers in Korea and Taiwan during the first quarter.

First-quarter net income fell to $14 million, or 1 cent a share, from $249 million, or 16 cents a share, the company said on Monday.

Excluding special items, Corning, the largest maker of glass for LCD screens, reported earnings of 10 cents a share, beating the analysts estimate of 5 cents a share, according to Reuters Estimates.

Total sales at Corning, whose competitors include Japan's Asahi Glass <5201.T>, fell 9 percent to $989 million.

Citing strength of LCD TV sales, the company doubled its forecast for 2009 unit growth to 18 percent from 9 percent.

Corning's shares were up 2.4 percent at $15.70 in premarket trading. As of Friday's close, shares had nearly doubled from a five-year low hit in December, but still well below its 52-week high of $28.06 last May.

(Reporting by Franklin Paul; Editing by Derek Caney)