DuPont, 3M Post Sales Gains

The 3Q 2011 gains are driven more by currency factors than volume. For both companies, international markets remain encouraging.

Two more stalwarts of the safety products and services industry reported third quarter results Oct. 25, with DuPont announcing $9.2 billion in sales (up 32 percent from 2010) and 3M announcing $7.5 billion (up 10 percent). Both companies' safety segments contributed.

DuPont said its Safety & Protection segment's sales were 15 percent higher in 2011's third quarter than the same period a year earlier. Sales for 3M's Safety, Security and Protection Services segment were 14.1 percent higher that the year before. But 3M's guidance was more cautious. 3M said it now expects full-year 2011 earnings to be in the range of $5.85 to $5.95 per share, down from a previous expected range of $6.10 to $6.25. DuPont said it expects full-year earnings to be in a range of $3.97 to $4.05 per share excluding significant items, which is in the upper half of the company's previous guidance of $3.90 to $4.05 per share.

"The business environment remains challenging as the economic softening that we experienced late in the second quarter continued into the third," said George W. Buckley, 3M's chairman, president, CEO. "Looking ahead, early evidence suggests slower growth will persist through year end, therefore we are responding to lower demand with aggressive cost management and operational discipline in developed economies. At the same time, we are bullish on many developing economies and plan to maintain key investments in R&D, sales, and manufacturing to capitalize on underlying strength in those regions. Innovation always separates great companies from the pack, particularly during periods of slower growth, as customers seek partners they can trust. 3M is blessed with highly capable leadership teams, adept at navigating economic uncertainty while aggressively driving innovation and growth."

"The resilience and diversity of DuPont's business portfolio was evident in our strong third quarter results. Despite turbulent global economic and market conditions, we delivered solid growth through innovative products and process technologies, disciplined execution, and continued productivity gains," said DuPont Chair & CEO Ellen Kullman. "Our portfolio is further strengthened by the rapid integration of Danisco, continued capacity expansions and selective growth investments across many of our businesses."

A day earlier, on Oct. 24, Kimberly-Clark announced its third quarter 2011 sales were a record $5.4 billion, up 8 percent from a year ago. Its new guidance is for 2011 adjusted earnings per share in a range of $4.80 to $4.90, in the lower half of its previous guidance range of $4.80 to $5.05. The company's K-C Professional & Other segment had third quarter sales of $900 million, up 10 percent from a year earlier.

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