China, India lift 3M profit above expectations

NEW YORK Tue Apr 26, 2011 8:01am EDT

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Industrial and consumer goods conglomerate 3M Co reported higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by sales to emerging markets, and raised its full-year profit forecast.

3M posted net earnings of $1.08 billion, or $1.49 per share, compared with $930 million, or $1.29 per share a year earlier. Analysts on average expected profit of $1.44 per share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Sales rose 15 percent to $7.31 billion, ahead of Wall Street forecasts of $6.95 billion.

"Our businesses are growing most everywhere in the world," Chief Executive George Buckley said in a statement.

3M said emerging markets account for more than a third of its sales. India sales jumped 30 percent this quarter, China and Hong Kong sales rose 27 percent and revenue from Brazil was up by a quarter.

Revenue at 3M's industrial and transportation segment, its largest by sales, rose 17 percent, helped by demand from the aerospace and energy industries.

The maker of Scotch tape, Post-It notes, industrial abrasives and healthcare and electronics products expects 2011 profit of $6.05 to $6.25 a share, despite a negative impact from Japan's earthquake and nuclear crisis. In January, it forecast 2011 profit between $5.95 and $6.20 a share.

The crisis cut first-quarter earnings by about 3 cents a share and will reduce full-year profit by 10 cents to 13 cents, 3M said.

3M has a higher exposure to Japan than most of its industrial peers, with 9 percent of sales generated there. It sells to auto and electronics businesses in Japan that have seen production disruptions since the March earthquake, tsunami and resulting nuclear crisis.

Shares of the Dow Jones industrial average component were up 1.1 percent before the start of trading. They have gained about 9 percent year-to-date, slightly lagging industrial peers but beating the Dow by more than a percentage point.

(Reporting by Nick Zieminski. Editing by Robert MacMillan)

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