3M earnings beat expectations
By Joshua Freed
MINNEAPOLIS — 3M Co., maker of Scotch tape and Post-It notes, said first-quarter earnings dropped compared to a year ago when it had a big gain on the sale of one of its businesses. But the results topped analyst expectations.
3M said on Thursday that profits fell 28 percent to $988 million, or $1.38 per share, from $1.37 billion, or $1.85 per share, during the same period a year ago. Prior-year results included a one-time gain of $422 million, or 57 cents per share, from the sale of 3M’s branded pharmaceutical business in Europe.
Sales rose 9 percent to $6.46 billion.
Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial, who generally exclude one-time items, forecast earnings of $1.35 per share on revenue of $6.34 billion.
3M said international sales were solid and that profits increased in four of its units. Profit declined in its consumer and office and display and graphics businesses.
The Maplewood-based company affirmed its full-year guidance of about $5.48 per share.
Two-thirds of 3M sales came from international subsidiaries, "and growth in many developing economies enabled us to overcome economic challenges in the U.S.," Chairman and Chief Executive George Buckley said.
Operating profits in 3M’s largest division, Industrial and Transportation, rose 15 percent to $472 million. Profits dropped 37 percent in Display and Graphics, to $187 million. Price competition has become more intense for 3M’s coatings for LCD screens.
3M shares rose 47 cents to $81.10 in premarket trading.