Skip to main content
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
Enjoy unlimited digital access
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
Canada’s most-awarded newsroom for a reason
$1.99
per week
for 24 weeks
// //

3M Co. (MMM-N), which makes N-95 face masks, reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit on Tuesday, helped by lower costs and higher demand for its personal safety products and home care items such as Scotch-Brite during the COVID-19 pandemic.

3M has seen robust demand for disposable respirator masks, hand sanitizers and safety glasses amid a surge in coronavirus infections. Its home improvement products ScotchBlue painter tapes and Filtrete room air purifiers also gained traction, as people stayed home during the health crisis.

The company has exposure to a wide range of end markets including aerospace and oil and gas, where demand plunged, forcing it to cut jobs and take out costs.

Story continues below advertisement

“We stayed focused on innovating for our customers, improving our operational execution and fighting the pandemic from every angle,” chief executive officer Mike Roman said in a statement.

In December, 3M said it would cut about 2,900 jobs globally and scale back on investments in slower-growing markets as part of a restructuring that is expected to lead to pretax savings of up to $250 million.

3M said on Tuesday it expects its 2021 total sales to grow in the range of 5% to 8%, or 6.5% at the midpoint, above analysts’ average estimate of a 5.4% increase, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company forecast full-year earnings per share between $9.20 and $9.70, or $9.45 at the midpoint, below Wall Street’s estimate of $9.52, but above $9.25 reported in 2020.

Net income attributable to 3M rose 43% to $1.40 billion, or $2.38 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, beating analysts’ estimate of $2.15 per share.

3M’s research and development expenses fell 12%, while selling, general and administrative expenses dropped about 3%.

Net sales rose 5.8% to about $8.6 billion, topping expectations of $8.4 billion.

Story continues below advertisement

Be smart with your money. Get the latest investing insights delivered right to your inbox three times a week, with the Globe Investor newsletter. Sign up today.

Your Globe

Build your personal news feed

  1. Follow topics and authors relevant to your reading interests.
  2. Check your Following feed daily, and never miss an article. Access your Following feed from your account menu at the top right corner of every page.

Follow topics related to this article:

View more suggestions in Following Read more about following topics and authors
Report an error
Tickers mentioned in this story
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

If you do not see your comment posted immediately, it is being reviewed by the moderation team and may appear shortly, generally within an hour.

We aim to have all comments reviewed in a timely manner.

Comments that violate our community guidelines will not be posted.

UPDATED: Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies