3M profits jump amid heavy demand for face masks

For all of 2020, 3M had profits of US$5.4 billion, up 17.5 per cent from the year-ago level. — Reuters pic
For all of 2020, 3M had profits of US$5.4 billion, up 17.5 per cent from the year-ago level. — Reuters pic

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NEW YORK, Jan 26 — 3M, a maker of N95 face masks, reported higher fourth-quarter profits today on the mixed impact of Covid-19 across its businesses while also projecting sales growth in 2021.

The industrial giant — which operates in transportation, electronics and consumer businesses in addition to health care — pointed to continued strength in personal safety, cleaning and home improvement as the coronavirus boosts demand for some products.

But 3M said the pandemic had dented revenues tied to some other areas, including elective health procedures and hospitality.

The company is projecting sales growth of between five and eight per cent in 2021.

“In an uncertain economic environment, we stayed focused on innovating for our customers, improving our operational execution and fighting the pandemic from every angle,” said Chief Executive Mike Roman.

Earnings were US$1.4 billion (RM5.7 billion) in the fourth-quarter, up 43.3 per cent from the year-ago period. Revenues rose 5.8 per cent to US$8.6 billion.

For all of 2020, 3M had profits of US$5.4 billion, up 17.5 per cent from the year-ago level.

3M’s products run the gamut of household goods such as Scotch Tape and Post-It notes, as well sealants for the aerospace industry and sensors and protective equipment for the electronics industry.

During the pandemic, 3M has been a key player in supplying personal protective equipment, especially N95 “respirator” masks used by health care workers. The company produced two billion of the masks in 2020.

That came after 3M doubled its mask capacity twice during 2020 as it worked with the governments of the United States, Canada, Germany and Singapore to boost capacity. In an earnings presentation today, 3M said it has now raised production capacity of the masks to 2.5 billion units.

Shares of 3M rose 1.2 per cent to US$172.50 in pre-market trading. — AFP

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