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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

3M Raises 2010 Profit Forecast as 1Q Profit Jumps

NEW YORK (AP) - 3M Co., which makes thousands of everyday items like Post-Its and Scotch Tape, is riding a wave of booming business in emerging markets like Asia and Latin America "with an improving economic backdrop."

That broader global reach and surging sales led it to raise its outlook for the year on Tuesday after reporting first-quarter earnings that jumped 80 percent.

The company, considered an indicator of broader economic health because the variety of products it makes, now expects per-share earnings of $5.40 to $5.60, excluding a charge related to the new health care law. It forecast $4.90 to $5.10 per share previously.

Shares rose more than 3 percent before the opening bell.

3M earned $930 million, or $1.29 per share in the first three months of the year, compared with $518 million, or 74 cents per share, a year earlier. Excluding a one-time charge related to the health care law, first-quarter earnings were $1.40 per share. The quarter also included some restructuring costs.

Revenue rose 25 percent to $6.35 billion. Thomson Reuters says analysts expected a profit of $1.21 per share on revenue of $5.94 billion.

The company, based in Maplewood, Minn., said its results were driven by electronics, automotive parts and respiratory health aids. Sales in its display and graphics segment, which makes films for LCD TVs, cell phones and computers, improved the most.

3M also makes over 1,000 products for cars, including abrasives and paint finishings. Those product lines grew on continued improvement in global auto sales compared with 2009, one of the weakest years in decades.

Overall, sales were strongest in emerging economies, climbing 54.1 percent in the Asia Pacific region, which includes China. Sales in all six 3M business segments grew by double-digit percentages.