3M to Raise Quarterly Dividend 20% on Growth in Earnings

3M Co. boosted its quarterly dividend 20 percent as the maker of Scotch tape and Post-It Notes projected a gain in 2015 profit.

The payout will increase to $1.025 a share from $0.855 and is payable March 12 to stockholders of record as of Feb. 13, the St. Paul, Minnesota-based company said today in a statement ahead of its annual investor meeting. That outpaced the 87.5 cents projected in data compiled by Bloomberg.

Earnings per share will be $8 to $8.30, 3M said, compared with analysts’ average estimate for adjusted profit of $8.21 a share in a Bloomberg survey. 3M said it will reiterate its financial objectives through 2017 at the meeting in New York, including annual per-share earnings growth of 9 percent to 11 percent.

“The company is on track to deliver its long-term financial targets, organic growth remains strong and productivity is improving margins in 2014 and 2015,” 3M said.

3M also raised the low end of the range for its share buyback, a program spanning the years from 2013 to 2017, to $20 billion from $17 billion.

The shares rose 1.4 percent to close at $159.05 in New York. They have gained 13 percent this year, outpacing the 6.7 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

Since taking the helm in 2012, Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin has boosted research and development spending, realigned business units and emphasized international growth. 3M has been aggressive in its capital deployment, including buying Sumitomo Electric Industries Ltd.’s 25 percent stake in a joint venture for $865 million.

3M has stepped up spending for a growth plan outlined in December 2013, which included raising the dividend 35 percent and expanding its stock buyback plan to as much as $22 billion through 2017.

The company said yesterday it would sell its static-control business to Desco Industries Inc. for an undisclosed price. The deal is expected to close in the first quarter of 2015, 3M said.

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