3M Ups Outlook on Record Q1 Sales

Despite posting a 3 cents-per-share drop in earnings due to the disasters in Japan, 3M reported increased earnings and record sales of $7.3 billion in the first quarter-prompting the manufacturing giant to raise its outlook.

Maplewood-based manufacturing giant 3M Company posted record first-quarter sales of $7.3 billion and a 15.5 percent increase in earnings, prompting the company to raise its full-year earnings outlook.

Sales for the quarter that ended March 31 jumped 15.2 percent overall, with double-digit increases in all regions.

All six of the company's business segments posted increased sales during the quarter. The electro and communications segment saw the largest increase at 20.5 percent, followed by the industrial and transportation segment at 20.3 percent, and the safety, security, and protection services segment at 14.4 percent.

First-quarter net earnings totaled $1 billion, or $1.49 per share, up 15.5 percent from last year when the company posted earnings of $930 million, or $1.29 per share. The results beat the $1.44 per share expected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

3M said that the disasters in Japan prompted a 3 cents-per-share drop in first-quarter earnings. For the full year, the company estimates that earnings will be reduced by between 10 cents and 13 cents per share due to the earthquake and tsunami.

Despite that, the company raised its outlook.

The company now expects full-year earnings to be in the range of $6.05 per share to $6.25 per share, up from its previous outlook of between $5.95 per share and $6.20 per share.

3M is Minnesota's fifth-largest public company based on revenue, which totaled $26.7 billion in 2010.