3M to Cut 300 Jobs in Restructuring Move

3M is eliminating 300 jobs as it merges its securities systems division with its traffic safety systems division.

Maplewood-based 3M Company is cutting 300 jobs as part of a restructuring process, CEO Inge Thulin told investors on Thursday during the company’s fourth-quarter earnings call.

Thulin said that the company is combining its securities systems division with its traffic safety systems business; the divisions have been underperforming due in part to reduced government spending on safety systems. The merger will result in the reduction of 300 positions, he added.

3M spokeswoman Jacqueline Berry told Twin Cities Business on Thursday that the 300 job cuts represent “a global number,” and the company is still determining where geographically the reductions will occur, although they will be made during the first quarter. 3M currently employs about 88,000 worldwide and roughly 15,000 in Minnesota, she added.

The combination of 3M’s securities and traffic safety systems businesses “creates an opportunity to optimize the overall business and increase efficiency,” Thulin said, adding that the restructuring will result in a first-quarter charge of $8 million.

“In a company of our size and breadth, there will always be some businesses under strategic review, and while the specific solutions may differ, the underlying principle is the same,” Thulin said. “They will not stay under strategic review for long. We will take action.”

Thulin described 2012 as a year in which 3M “aligned our organization more closely with our customers and markets.” He said that in 2013, 3M will continue to invest in research and development. It will be a year “of putting our plan into action and truly competing to win,” he added.

The company announced last fall that it planned to restructure its business, consolidating its six major business segments down to five.

3M said Thursday that its fourth-quarter earnings totaled $991 million, or $1.41 per share, up 3 percent from the same period a year ago. Sales, meanwhile, rose 4.2 percent to $7.4 billion, setting an all-time fourth-quarter record.

For all of 2012, 3M reported record sales of $29.9 billion, up 1 percent. Earnings totaled $6.5 billion, or $6.32 per share, representing an increase of 4.9 percent.

3M on Thursday affirmed its 2013 full-year performance expectations. The company anticipates 2013 earnings to be in the range of $6.70 to $6.95 per share.

News of 3M’s financial performance sent the company’s stock soaring to a record highon Thursday.