Blue-chip conglomerate 3M (MMM) announced plans on Monday to raise its quarterly dividend by 35% and revealed favorable 2014 earnings and share buyback projections.
Shares of the maker of Post-Its and traffic sensing systems rallied more than 2% on the upbeat news.
Joining a slew of major companies that have recently announced dividend increases, 3M said its board of directors approved a new dividend of 85.5 cents per share for the first quarter. That represents a 35% increase from the current dividend of 63.5 cents per share.
3M said the new dividend is payable on March 12 to shareholders of record as of the close of business on February 14. The company said it has paid dividends to shareholders without interruption for more than 97 years.
In recent days, a number of big-name companies have raised their dividend, including aerospace giant Boeing (BA), drug maker Pfizer (PFE), ethanol and flour maker Archer Daniels Midland and conglomerate General Electric (GE).
Ahead of a meeting with institutional investors and analysts on Tuesday, 3M said it expects to post 2014 EPS of $7.30 to $7.55 on organic local currency sales of 3% to 6%. The midpoint of that EPS range, $7.425, would narrowly top the Street’s view of $7.40. Management also sees free cash flow conversion in the range of 90% to 100%.
At the same time, 3M reaffirmed its long-term financial objectives, calling for EPS growth of 9% to 11% between 2013 and 2017 on organic revenue growth of 4% to 6%.
3M said it plans to invest $5 billion to $10 billion for acquisitions through 2017 and $17 billion to $22 billion on gross share buybacks, compared with $7.5 billion to $15 billion previously.
“The strength and diversity of our business model supports more aggressive capital deployment and reflects our confidence in 3M's future,” 3M CEO Inge Thulin said in a statement. “We are building the company for long-term success and are committed to creating sustainable value for our shareholders."
Shares of St. Paul-based 3M advanced 2.62% to $131.00 in premarket trading, putting them on pace to extend their 2013 rally of 37.5%.