3M's 2Q Net Gains 2.6%, Narrowly Tops Views

By EarningsFOXBusiness

Post-Its maker 3M (NYSE:MMM) narrowly beat the Street on Thursday with a 2.6% rise in second-quarter profits as the diversified manufacturer enjoyed sales gains in almost all divisions.

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In addition to the stronger-than-expected results, 3M also announced plans to accelerate share buybacks.

The company said it earned $1.2 billion, or $1.71 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $1.17 billion, or $1.66 a share, a year earlier. Analysts had called for EPS of $1.70.

Revenue increased 2.9% to $7.75 billion, narrowly trailing the Street’s view of $7.77 billion. Operating margins dipped to 22% from 22.9%

“This was a good quarter for 3M, with strong performances across the portfolio," 3M CEO Inge Thulin said in a statement. "Our employees executed well in the face of continued slow economic growth."

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All but one of 3M’s five divisions reported year-over-year sales growth for the second quarter, highlighted by a 6.6% jump in revenue at its industrial arm.

Sales in safety and graphics increased 2.3%, while sales were up 4.6% in health care. The two laggards were consumer, which saw revenue gain just 1.4%, and electronics and energy, which suffered a 3.2% decline amid “soft” end-markets and weakness in renewable energy.

Looking ahead, 3M reaffirmed its full-year guidance for EPS of $6.60 to $6.85 on local-currency sales growth of 2% to 5%.

Management also raised its forecast for share buybacks, projecting $3.5 billion to $4.5 billion, compared with a prior call for $2 billion to $3 billion.

Shares of Minneapolis-based 3M were inactive in premarket trading. The company’s shares have rallied 25% so far in 2013 and 31% over the past 12 months.

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