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3M Profit Matches Estimates Amid Emerging Markets Focus

July 24 (Bloomberg) -- 3M Co. reported second-quarter profit that matched analysts’ estimates as the maker of Post-it notes and Scotch tape works to boost sales in high-margin emerging markets.

Net income rose 5.8 percent to $1.27 billion, or $1.91 a share, from $1.2 billion, or $1.71, a year earlier, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company said today in a statement. The earnings met the per-share average of 12 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin, who took the helm in early 2012, has expanded the research and development budget, realigned business units and emphasized international growth. He also said 3M would look to develop fast-growing business lines such as air and water filtration.

“Quick product development, global expansion, strong presence in a broad array of economic sectors and flexible product lines enable 3M to identify, target and seize dynamic growth opportunities as they emerge,” Matt Arnold, a St. Louis-based analyst at Edward Jones & Co., wrote in a June 27 note. “3M is heavily investing outside the U.S., enhancing its growth prospects.” Arnold recommends buying the shares.

Sales rose 6.6 percent in the Asia-Pacific region as 3M saw growth there across all five of its major business segments. Revenue increased 2.7 percent in Latin America and Canada, buoyed by gains in the health-care and electronics units.

Shares Rise

3M rose 0.3 percent to $145.13 at the close in New York. The stock has increased 3.5 percent this year, trailing the 7.6 percent gain for the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Total sales climbed 4.9 percent to a record $8.13 billion as revenue rose across all business lines and geographic regions, the company said. Analysts had estimated an average of $8.08 billion.

In December, 3M raised its dividend 35 percent and unveiled a five-year plan to spend as much as $10 billion on acquisitions and repurchase $22 billion of shares. The company said last week it would buy Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd.’s 25 percent stake in a joint venture for $885 million.

“In addition to a strong operating performance, we are also deploying capital more aggressively to both improve the business and to enhance shareholder returns,” Thulin said today in the statement. The company returned $2 billion to stockholders during the quarter through a combination of dividends and repurchases, he said.

3M reaffirmed its 2014 forecasts of earnings per share of $7.30 to $7.55 and sales growth excluding acquisitions of 3 percent to 6 percent. The effects of foreign currency exchange are expected to reduce sales by about 1 percent this year, the company said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Richard Clough in New York at rclough9@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Ed Dufner at edufner@bloomberg.net John Lear, Bruce Rule

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