3M Expects Sales Growth as Customers Return to Offices, Schools -- Update
By Austen Hufford
3M Co. said it expects sales across its product lines to grow
this year as vaccinations against Covid-19 allow people to start
using more of its products at dental offices, workplaces and
Demand for the St. Paul, Minn.-based manufacturer's products
varied widely last year. The pandemic created enormous pressure on
demand for the N95 face masks that medical workers wear to guard
against the virus. But sales of other products such as Post-it
Notes used by office workers and teeth-polishing discs used by
dentists were hurt by social-distancing measures. In December, the
company said it planned to cut nearly 3,000 jobs, reflecting
slumping demand for some of its products.
For 2021, 3M said it expects revenue excluding acquisitions and
currency fluctuations to grow up to 6%. 3M had pulled its guidance
early in the pandemic; restoring it indicates the company has more
confidence in forecasting how the months ahead will play out. 3M
said it would restart buying back its shares, a common practice to
return cash to shareholders.
"We expect a return to healthy growth," Chief Executive Mike
Roman told analysts on a call Tuesday.
Shares rose 2.8% in morning trading to $175.17.
3M said logistics and labor costs have risen as the economy
recovers, weighing on profit. 3M said prices for polypropylene,
wood pulp and ethylene prices were rising, too.
3M, the biggest U.S. producer of N95 masks, said it has
delivered two billion masks around the world and is making more
than 95 million a month in the U.S., more than tripling
3M recently joined an agreement with federal authorities and
other mask makers to better coordinate and share data on medical
goods needed to fight the pandemic. Mr. Roman said the company has
had productive conversations with the new Biden administration.
"We will continue to do all we can to get respirators and other
personal protective equipment to front-line workers and help
America, and the world, beat the pandemic," he said.
3M said demand also remains high for filters that are being
installed in public places and schools to reduce the spread of the
virus. 3M has doubled its capacity to make its Filtrete brand of
For its fourth quarter, 3M saw year-over-year sales gains in
markets like personal safety, home improvement, general cleaning
and semiconductor products. The declines in other areas continued,
with sales of products aimed at elective health-care procedures,
consumer electronics, hospitality and office supplies falling.
3M said it booked organic growth of 14% in China and 9% in the
U.S. in its fourth quarter. The company's mask business drove a 13%
increase in sales in the company's safety and industrial business
unit, while transportation and electronics rose 2.3%, health care
rose 5.4% and its consumer business increased 11%.
3M posted revenue growth of 5.8% to $8.58 billion in its fourth
quarter. It had $2.38 in per-share earnings, compared with $1.66 in
the same period a year before.
Write to Austen Hufford at email@example.com
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 26, 2021 10:47 ET (15:47 GMT)
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