3M Industrial Unit Powers Q4 Company Growth

3M's Industrial unit broke a streak of three straight sluggish quarters to end 2016 on a strong note, posting a 4.6 percent gain in organic sales over Q4 2015.

Manufacturing conglomerate 3M reported its 2016 fourth quarter fiscal results on Tuesday, which showed that its core industrial unit had notable growth following three sluggish quarters.

3M posted Q4 total sales of $7.33 billion, up 0.4 percent year-over-year, while profit of $1.16 billion jumped 11.3 percent. That follows flat sales and profit in Q3 and Q2, while sales declined 2.2 percent in Q1.

3M's Q4 organic sales increased 1.6 percent year-over-year, while operating profit of $1.67 billion increased 11 percent.

The company lowered its operating expenses by 2.3 percent in Q4, helping boost its profits.

The company's industrial unit was reponsible for much of the growth, with Q4 sales of $2.5 billion up 3 percent overall and up 4.6 percent organically. That follows an organic decline of 1.1 percent in Q3, a decline of 1.4 percent in Q2 and a decline of 1.9 percent in Q1. The company said the Q4 organic industrial increase was led by automotive OEM, advanced materials, separation and purification and automotive aftermarket. Organic industrial sales grew in all geographic areas. Industrial operating profit of $553 million was up 16.8 percent year-over-year.

3M's Safety and Graphic unit had Q4 sales of $1.3 billion, up 0.6 percent overall and up 2.2 organically. Organic sales increased in roofing granules, personal safety and commercial solutions, and declined in traffic safety and security. Sales grew in Asia Pacific, Latin America/Canada and the U.S., and declined in EMEA. Operating profit of $270 million was down 4.1 percent year-over-year.

  • 3M's Electronics and Energy unit had Q4 sales of $1.2 billion, down 1.0 percent overall and down 0.6 percent organically. Electronics sales were flat, while energy sales down 2 percent. Operating profit of $326 million increased 61.3 percent year-over-year.
  • 3M's Health Care unit Q4 sales were down 0.1 percent overall and up 1.3 percent organically, while operating profit decreased 7.3 percent year-over-year.
  • 3M's Consumer unit Q4 sales were down 0.7 percent overall and down 0.7 percent organically, while operating profit declined 10.5 percent year-over-year.

Full Year

For the full year 2016, 3M total sales of $30.11 billion were down 0.5 percent from 2015, while profit of $5.06 billion increased 4.5 percent. Organic sales decreased 0.1 percenti n 2016. Operating profit of $7.22 billion increased 4.0 percent. Sales in the U.S. increased 1.2 percent overall, while organic U.S. sales increased 0.5 percent.

  • Industrial total sales increased 0.2 percent in 2016, and were flat organically.
  • Safety and Graphics total sales increased 2.6 percent in 2016, and increased 2.2 percent organically.
  • Health Care total sales increased 2.0 percent in 2016, and increased 3.5 percent organically.
  • Electronics and Energy total sales decreased 8.1 percent in 2016, and decreased 7.5 percent organically.
  • Consumer total sales increased 1.3 percent in 2016, and increased 1.9 percent organically.
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