Respirator maker 3M (MMM) - Get Report on Tuesday reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings and sales as it continued to churn out respirators and personal protective gear used in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.
St. Paul, Minn.-based 3M said it earned $1.39 billion, or $2.38 a share, in the fourth quarter, up from $969 million, or $1.66 a share, in the comparable year-ago quarter. Analysts polled by FactSet had been expecting earnings of $2.15 a share. Sales were $8.6 billion, up 4.8% from a year ago and above analysts’ forecasts of $8.4 billion.
“In an uncertain economic environment, we stayed focused on innovating for our customers, improving our operational execution and fighting the pandemic from every angle,” CEO Mike Roman said, noting that the company distributed 2 billion respirators globally in 2020 and supported the development and manufacturing of vaccines and therapeutics.
3M said it delivered year-on-year growth across all business segments and geographic areas, with particularly strong growth in personal safety, home improvement, general cleaning, semiconductor, data center and biopharma filtration, “… even as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to evolve and affect 3M’s businesses in a number of ways.”
At the same time, several other end markets continued to experience year-on-year declines primarily driven by Covid-19-related headwinds, including healthcare and oral care elective procedures, consumer electronics, hospitality, office supplies, and healthcare IT, 3M said.
“Moving forward we will continue to prioritize investments in growth, productivity and sustainability as we build on our progress and deliver strong results in 2021,” Roman said.
For 2021, 3M said it expects full-year per-share earnings of between $9.20 and $9.70, 20 cents higher than the $9.50-a-share average forecast by analysts polled by FactSet. The company said it expects sales growth in the range of 5% to 8% above 2020 levels.
Shares of 3M were up 3.63% at $176.59 in trading on Tuesday.