3M Co. Reports 1st Quarter Results, Reaffirms Guidance
Diversified manufacturer 3M Company (NYSE: MMM – $136.35) reported first-quarter sales increased 3% from the year-earlier mark to $7.8 billion, which was a little short of the consensus estimate. Share earnings climbed 11% to $1.79 per share, which was a penny shy of the $1.80 that most were looking for. Overall, it was a solid performance for 3M, as the company was able to achieve organic growth in most business groups and geographies. By sector: The Industrial segment notched a top-line advance of 3%, led by 3M Purification, automotive, advanced materials and aerospace & commercial transportation, but sales declined in personal care; Safety & Graphics reported local-currency sales growth of 5% as personal safety, roofing granules and commercial solutions advanced, while the traffic safety and security business declined from last year; Health Care posted the largest top-line increase of 5% with the strongest growth in drug delivery and health information systems; Electronics & Energy group reported organic sales growth of 3% with a strong performance in optical systems partly offset by declines in the electronic markets, materials and the electronic solutions businesses; and finally, the Consumer business reported flat revenues, as divestitures and unfavorable foreign exchange reduced the total by 3% with upticks in DIY and consumer health products not able to offset declines in stationery and office supplies. 3M maintained its full-year earnings expectation of $7.30 to $7.55 per share with organic local-currency sales growth of 3- 6%. Profit growth should remain strong between now and late decade, thanks to 3M’s broad geographic footprint, ongoing investments in R&D and monetization of new products. The dividend yield of 2.5% is also attractive, thanks to the board’s recent decision to raise the payout by 35% in the past quarter. I believe most conservative types will do well with a position in this issue over the long-term.