3M Misses Q4 Profit Forecasts, Plans 1,500 Job Cuts

3M noted weakness in sales from its industrial and safety division, which offset gains in health care and tipped the group into a weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings report.
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3M Co. (MMM) - Get Report posted weaker-than-expected fourth quarter earnings Tuesday as industrial sales weakness offset strength in the group's health care division.

3M said adjusted earnings for the three months ending in December came in at $1.95 per share, down 15.6% from last year and well shy of the Street consensus forecast of $2.10 per share. Adding in a 49 cents per share adjustment that wasn't included in prior guidance, however, and 3M earnings rise to $2.15 per share. Group revenues, the company said, slipped 1.9% to $8.1 billion, a figure that largely met analysts' estimates. 

3M Q4 Earnings graphic

Looking into 2020, 3M said it expects organic, local-currency sales growth to be in the region of flat to +2%, following a 2.6% decline over the fourth quarter, with reported earnings of between $9.30 and $9.75 per share. 3M also said it was ready to cut 1,500 jobs in a company-wide restructuring plan.

“Our team executed well in the fourth quarter and delivered results that were in-line with our expectations,” said CEO Mike Roman. “While we continued to manage challenges in certain key end markets, we generated solid underlying margins and robust free cash flow.”

“We also continue to build for the future, including the launch of our new global operating model which represents the next phase of our transformation journey,e he added. "As a result of our actions, we are well positioned to improve our performance, return to growth and deliver a successful 2020.”

3M shares fell 4.6% in early Tuesday trading following the earnings release to change hands at $167.67 each, a move that would dip the stock into a 5.2% decline over the past six months.  

Industrial and safety sales fell 4.8% from last year over the fourth quarter, 3M said, while transportation and electronics revenues were down 6.2%. Health care was the company's bright spot, with revenues rising 25.4%