Industrial conglomerate 3M ( MMM) surpassed analysts' estimates for the fourth quarter and affirmed its profit growth expectations for 2008.

Fourth-quarter net income was $851 million, or $1.17 a share, down from $1.18 billion, or $1.57 a share, in the same period a year earlier. The latest quarter includes a special cost of 2 cents a share, and last year had a gain of $354 million, or 47 cents a share.

Before items, 3M earned $1.19 in the final quarter of 2007. Excluding profits from the divested pharmaceuticals business and certain items, the company earned $1.04 last year.

Sales rose 7% year over year to $6.21 billion from $5.78 billion. On average, analysts were looking for earnings of $1.17 and sales of $6.14 billion in the fourth quarter.

3M reiterated its earnings expectations for this year, saying profits should increase a minimum of 10% from an adjusted $4.98 in 2007. That implies $5.48 and would be 4 cents better than the Wall Street consensus estimate.

Shares of 3M were down 1% at $76.68.
This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.