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3M profit beats on healthcare boost; says demand for N95 masks to continue

·2 min read
The 3M Global Headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota
The 3M Global Headquarters in Maplewood, Minnesota

(Reuters) - U.S. industrial conglomerate 3M Co <MMM.N> topped Wall Street estimates for third-quarter profit and revenue on Tuesday, as the maker of N95 masks benefited from robust demand for its healthcare products during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Demand for 3M's disposable respirators is expected to continue in the fourth quarter, company executives said on a post-earnings call, adding that 3M was on track to produce 2 billion N95 masks this year.

Sales from three of the company's four main businesses rose, with the healthcare unit recording a 25.5% jump and accounting for more than a quarter of the company's total sales.

Sales at 3M's biggest unit, safety and industrial, rose 6.9%, helped by a sequential pick up in automotive aftermarket demand as auto body shops reopened after the economic shutdown in the second quarter.

Revenue from the transportation and electronics unit, which makes everything from computer screen filters to auto parts, fell 7.4% as the pandemic continued to have a negative impact on end markets such as hospitality, oil and gas and advertising due to social distancing and work from home.

The company forecast full-year capital expenditure to be between $1.4 billion and $1.5 billion, compared with its previous forecast of about $1.4 billion. However, 3M declined to provide any other forecast for 2020, citing uncertainty due to the pandemic.

Net income attributable to 3M fell to $1.41 billion, or $2.43 per share, in the quarter ended Sept. 30, as operating expenses rose nearly 8%. Net sales rose 4.5% to $8.35 billion.

Analysts on average had expected quarterly earnings of $2.26 per share on revenue of $8.32 billion, according to Refinitiv data.

(Reporting by Sanjana Shivdas in Bengaluru; Editing by Shinjini Ganguli)