3M sees 2013 earnings up 8 percent in weak economy

Wed Dec 12, 2012 10:51am EST

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(Reuters) - 3M Co (MMM.N) expects earnings to rise about 8 percent next year, with sales growth coming in below the diversified U.S. manufacturer's long-term targets amid a weak global economy.

3M, whose products range from Post-It notes to films used in electronics, said on Wednesday it expects to earn $6.70 to $6.95 per share in 2013, a range that at its midpoint is below analysts' average forecast.

The St. Paul, Minnesota-based company is the second major manufacturer to set a 2013 earnings target a bit shy of Wall Street estimates, following on the heels of Honeywell International Inc (HON.N), which laid out its forecast on Monday.

3M expects organic revenue -- a measure that excludes the effects of acquisitions, divestitures and exchange-rate fluctuations -- to rise by 2 percent to 5 percent next year.

The forecast, which is below the company's long-term revenue growth target of 4 percent to 6 percent, reflects "a weaker global economy in the near term," Chief Financial Officer David Meline said on a conference call with investors.

The midpoint of 3M's earnings-per-share forecast is 8 percent above the midpoint of its 2012 forecast.

Analysts on average were expecting 2013 earnings of $6.85 per share excluding one-time items, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

3M last month laid out a long-term growth plan that calls for earnings per share to rise by roughly 10 percent a year through 2017.

Chief Executive Inge Thulin, who took the top job in February, has said one of the company's first priorities is to prune its broad portfolio of products, with 3M likely to focus on fewer but larger takeovers.

Thulin told investors he has identified businesses that generate about 8 percent of 3M's annual revenue that need to be fixed or sold, though he has not identified those units.

The company has already closed one large deal initiated on Thulin's watch, the $860 million purchase of Ceradyne Inc, a maker of advanced technical ceramics.

3M is one of several large U.S. manufacturers laying out their expectations for 2013. United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) and General Electric Co (GE.N) are due to issue their outlooks in the coming days.

3M shares have gained about 12 percent this year, outpacing the Dow Jones industrial average's .DJI 9 percent rise. The shares eased 0.3 percent to $93.42 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

(Reporting by Scott Malone in Boston and Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore; Editing by Supriya Kurane and John Wallace)