Conservative · Stocks to Consider and Updates

3M Beats Earnings Estimates on Weaker Sales; Lowers Guidance

MMMIndustrial conglomerate 3M Co. (NYSE: MMM – $154.70) reported third-quarter earnings of $2.05 per share, an increase of 3.5% versus the third quarter of 2014 and above the consensus of $2.02. Revenue fell 5.2% to $7.71 billion, missing the Street estimates of $ 7.84 billion, as unfavorable currency movements reduced sales by 7.4%. Organic local-currency sales grew 1.2% and acquisitions, net of divestitures, added another 1.0%. Operating income was $1.9 billion and operating income margins for the quarter were 24.3%, up 0.9 percentage points year-on-year. By operating segment, organic local-currency sales growth was 5.0% in Consumer, 3.7% in Health Care, 2.9% in Safety and Graphics and 0.2% in Industrial. Electronics and Energy, however, declined 2.8%. On a geographic basis, organic local-currency sales grew 2.3% in Latin America/Canada, 1.5% in the U.S. and Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) and 0.4% in Asia-Pacific. To further strengthen its competitiveness, 3M also announced a restructuring plan that will result in an expected reduction of 1,500 positions worldwide with estimated pre-tax savings of $130 million in 2016. Reductions will be primarily focused on structural overhead, largely in the U.S., and slower-growing markets with particular emphasis on EMEA and Latin America. 3M also updated its guidance for the full-year 2015. Excluding restructuring charges, the company now expects earnings will be in the range of $7.73 to $7.78 per share, versus a prior range of $7.73 to $7.93 per share. The midpoint of the range – $7.76 – is about in line with analysts’ estimates of $7.77. Things look brighter for next year, with an earnings outlook closer to $8.60 – $8.70. Management continues to streamline the business model, using strong cash flow generation and the proceeds from divestitures of peripheral operations to make acquisitions and strengthen its position in core businesses. The shares also yield over 2.7% at current levels and should remain a core holding in most conservative accounts.


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