3M (MMM) matched Wall Street's estimates for the fourth quarter but offered guidance toward the low end of expectations.

The Minnesota-based maker of post-it notes made $1.18 billion, or $1.57 a share, for the quarter ended Dec. 31, up from the year-ago $746 million, or 97 cents a share. Excluding stock option costs and a gain on the sale of the pharmaceuticals business, 3M made $1.14 a share, in line with the Thomson Financial analyst consensus estimate.

Sales rose 8.6% from a year ago to $5.78 billion, beating the $5.76 billion consensus estimate.

Total local-currency sales increased 5.8%, led by a 12.2% increase in Safety, Security and Protection Services and an 8.9% improvement in Health Care. Local-currency sales increased 5.6% in Consumer and Office, 4.8% in Industrial and Transportation, 3.6% in Display and Graphics and 2.6% in Electro and Communications. Total-company local-currency sales growth includes 1.9 points from acquired businesses. Currency impacts added 2.8% to fourth-quarter growth, and selling prices declined 1% versus last year's comparable quarter.

Fourth-quarter local-currency growth was 10.5% in Europe, 10.2% in Latin America and 5% in Asia Pacific. In the United States, sales grew 3.3% despite a significant slowdown in the housing industry, which hurt growth by an estimated 3 percentage points.

The company expects 2007 per share earnings to be in the range of $5.20 to $5.45, which includes a net gain, after costs for known restructuring actions, of approximately $0.60 to $0.70 per diluted share due to the sale in the first quarter of the company's branded pharmaceuticals business in Europe. Also included in this range is an estimated $0.21 per share due to expensing of stock options.

That puts 3M's 2007 guidance at $4.81 to $4.96 a share, against the $4.99 Wall Street estimate.

3M also expects full-year local-currency sales growth, adjusted for the divestiture of its global branded pharmaceuticals business, to be between 6 and 10%, which includes approximately 1.5 percentage points due to acquisitions closed as of this date. Including the global branded pharmaceuticals sales in 2006, total local-currency sales growth for 2007 is expected to be between 2% and 6%. Analysts were looking for 5.4%.

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