Friday, October 19, 2007

Despite slow sales, 3M's earnings up 7%

Third-quarter results lifted by strong growth as manufacturer lifts full-year profit outlook.

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Scotch tape and Post-it Notes maker 3M Co. said Friday its third-quarter earnings climbed 7 percent on strong growth across all regions, though sales fell shy of expectations.

The company also raised its profit outlook for the full year.

Net income grew to $960 million, or $1.32 per share, from $894 million, or $1.18, in the third quarter of 2006. Excluding gains in both periods, the company earned $1.29 in the latest quarter, up from $1.17 a year ago.

Revenue rose nearly 6 percent to $6.18 billion from $5.86 billion a year ago.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial expected a profit of $1.28 per share on higher revenue of $6.29 billion.

3M (Charts, Fortune 500) raised its outlook for 2007 earnings for the second time, forecasting a profit of $5.54 to $5.62 per share, up from a prior estimate of $5.40 to $5.60.

The new guidance includes a gain of 60 to 65 cents per share to account for the completed sale of its branded pharmaceuticals business in Europe.

Wall Street is expecting earnings per share of $4.97 for fiscal 2007.