NEW YORK, Dec. 8 -- Roger G. Ackerman, chairman and CEO of Corning Inc., said he expects the company's 1999 earnings per share -- before one-time items -- to be in line with analyst predictions of $1.86. These results represent an increase of 24 percent over 1998's earnings of $1.50 per share. At a meeting with analysts, Ackerman said that he expects next year's earnings to grow by 20 to 25 percent. He commented, We will soon close the books on one of the best years in Corning's history and anticipate that 2000 will be another year of equally strong growth. Ackerman predicted that next year's growth would come from strong demand for optical fiber, cable, and networking devices that serve as the backbone of the Internet. Other products expected to contribute to increased earnings include flat-panel displays for the computer monitor and television markets; automotive substrates employed in catalytic converters; and life-science products for use in drug discovery.Corning's earnings outlook for 2000 reflects the company's recently announced plan to acquire Oak Industries as well as the worldwide optical fiber, cable, and related equipment businesses of Siemens Corp. The latter acquisition would include Siecor Corp., the optical cable company that is jointly owned by the two companies at present. According to Ackerman, Corning and Siemens are in negotiations, and the companies hope to make an announcement before the end of 1999.