3M Ups Dividend, Plans Stock Repurchase

The company says that its increased dividend and share repurchase program reflect "the strength of our business model and our confidence in the future."

Maplewood-based 3M Company said Tuesday that it will pay a dividend of 55 cents per share-up 5 percent from the quarterly dividend paid last year.

3M also announced that its board has authorized the repurchase of up to $7 billion of the company's outstanding common stock.

The company said that it has returned more than $15 billion to its shareholders during the past five years through dividends and share repurchases.

“Today's announcement reflects the strength of our business model and our confidence in the future,” George Buckley, chairman, president, and CEO, said in a news release. “Our strong balance sheet and outstanding free cash flow allow us to fund growth investments and continue our legacy of returning significant cash to shareholders.”

Earlier this week, the U.S. Department of Energy announced that it will award 3M $4.4 million as part of a program focused on improving manufacturing efficiencies and reducing costs in the U.S. solar industry.

3M is among Minnesota's five-largest companies based on revenue, which totaled $26.7 billion in 2010.