3M CEO Eyes Continued Growth With More Aggressive Tack
Wall Street companies are getting increasingly confident. Count Dow component3M ( MMM ) among them.
CEO Inge Thulin is pursuing a more aggressive tack since taking the reins in February 2012. In mid-December, shares soared after the conglomerate announced plans for a huge share buyback. The company expects share repurchases through 2017 to be in a range of $17 billion to $22 billion, up from a prior forecast of $7.5 billion to $15 billion.
3M also raised its quarterly dividend to 85.5 cents from 63.5 cents. The dividend is payable March 12 to shareholders of record Feb. 14.
The company also said it would spend between $5 billion and $10 billion on acquisitions through 2017. In November 2012, 3M completed its acquisition of ceramics maker Ceradyne for $860 million.
In the consumer market, 3M is known for its Post-it and Scotch brands but it operates in several other business segments, including industrial, electronics and energy, health care and safety and graphics. Earlier this month, the company previewed three new multi-touch displays at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.
In late October, 3M reported third-quarter profit of $1.78 a share, up 8% from a year ago. Sales growth accelerated for the second straight quarter, rising 6% to just over $7.9 billion.
Sales at its industrial segment rose 9% to $2.7 billion, making up just over a third of total revenue. Sales grew in all businesses, led by aerospace, automotive, advanced materials, and industrial adhesives and tapes.
Sales at 3M's safety and graphics segment rose nearly 7% to $1.4 billion; health care sales grew 5.5% to $1.3 billion; and electronics sales increased 2.5% to $1.4 billion.
Earnings are due Jan. 30 after the close. The consensus estimate calls for profit of $1.62 a share, up 15% from a year ago with sales up 4% to $7.71 billion.