Earnings Lifts 3M to New Annual High


3M Co. (NYSE: MMM) reported fourth-quarter and full-year 2012 results before markets opened this morning. For the quarter, the conglomerate posted diluted earnings per share (EPS) of $1.41 on revenues of $7.39 billion. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.36 on revenues of $7.09 billion. Fourth-quarter results also compare to the Thomson Reuters consensus estimates for EPS of $1.41 and $7.18 billion in revenues.

For the full year, 3M reported EPS of $6.40 on revenues of $29.9 billion, compared with EPS of $6.05 on revenues of $29.61 billion a year ago. The consensus estimates called for EPS of $6.32 on revenues of $29.79 billion.

The company's CEO said:

Fourth-quarter was a good finish to a successful year for 3M. Our people executed well in the face of challenging macroeconomic conditions and we have built good momentum to innovate and move forward in 2013.

The company reaffirmed its previous guidance for the coming year. EPS is forecast at $6.70 to $6.95 a share. The consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters calls for first-quarter EPS of $1.68 on revenues of $7.79 billion. For the full year, EPS is estimated at $6.85 on revenues of $31.34 billion.

3M's 2012 sales grew by just 1% year-over-year, and operating income growth was uneven in the company's many divisions. Its largest segment, Industrial and Transportation, posted an operating income decline of 0.4% year-over-year in the fourth quarter, while the Consumer and Office segment - which is less than half the size of the Industrial and Transportation segment - posted an operating income gain of 28.8% in the quarter.

3M's shares are up about 0.7% in premarket trading this morning at $100.21, which will be a new 52-week high if it holds. The current 52-week range is $81.99 to $99.70. Thomson Reuters had a consensus analyst price target of around $102.70 before today's report.

Filed under: 24/7 Wall St. Wire, Conglomerates, Earnings Tagged: MMM