3M Has Shrunk From 40 Businesses To 24 Since 2012: Here's Why

3M announced the $900 million sale of its Communications Markets Division on Monday, and followed-up on Tuesday with a company outlook statement that discussed its recent streak of divestments.

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On Tuesday, manufacturing conglomerate 3M held its annual outlook meeting in New York City and provided a press release about the state of the company — which has been busy divesting various business units to re-focus more on core profit drivers.

"The 3M team is delivering a robust performance in 2017, and is well-positioned to build on that momentum in 2018 — including strong, broad-based organic growth and expanded profitability," 3M chairman, president and CEO Inge Thulin said in a statement Tuesday. “We are executing the 3M Playbook, which is making us even more competitive and enabling us to generate premium value for our customers and shareholders.”

Tuesday's meeting comes a day after 3M announced its latest divestment, the sale of its complete Communications Markets Division to Corning Inc. for $900 million. The unit makes optical fiber and copper passive connectivity solutions for the telecommunications industry, including 3M’s xDSL, FTTx, and structured cabling solutions and, in certain countries, telecommunications system integration services. It has annual global sales of about $400 million. Expected to complete in 2018, the transaction will result in approximately 500 3M employees joining Corning.

Including that divestment, 3M has shrunk from 40 businesses to 24 since 2012. The company notes those divestments comprise the first lever of its three-lever business strategy.

"The first lever — Portfolio Management — is increasing customer relevance and allowing 3M to focus on its most profitable and fastest-growing businesses," 3M stated Tuesday. "Investing in Innovation is the second lever, and in 2018 3M plans to increase investments in research and development to $1.9 billion, or about 6 percent of sales. 3M continues to make good progress on its third lever — Business Transformation — which is enabling the company to better serve customers with even more agility and efficiency."

3M also said Tuesday's meeting will highlight investments in priority growth platforms such as auto electrification, air quality and personal safety — along with its strong global business model including in the U.S. and China.

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