3M Safety Sales Shine

3M's announcement yesterday of its 2008 financial results was encouraging, and the company's common stock gained 2 percent by the end of the day as a result. The 3M Safety, Security and Protection Services unit's 2008 sales increased by 2.9 percent in the fourth quarter and totaled $3.6 billion for the year, up from $3.1 billion in 2007, while 3M as a whole saw its sales rise 3.3 percent in 2008 to a record $25.3 billion. Fourth quarter 2008 sales for the full company were down by 11.2 percent to $5.5 billion.

3M reported 2008 net income of $3.5 billion ($4.89 per share) versus $4.1 billion ($5.60 per share) in 2007. Excluding special items, 2008 earnings were $5.17 per share versus $4.98 per share in 2007, a 3.8 percent increase.

"3M drove record sales in 2008 despite a dramatic fourth-quarter economic downturn,” said George W. Buckley, the company's chairman, president, and CEO. "And we are responding to lower demand with aggressive cost management and operational discipline. 3M employees are doing an outstanding job managing through worldwide market challenges and are positioning our company to seize the upside when growth resumes."

He said the company plans to reduce capital expenditures by about 30 percent and expects organic sales volumes to decline between 5 percent and 9 percent in 2009.

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