3M Reports Mixed Results Despite N95 Mask Boost

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US industrial giant 3M reported mixed results Tuesday, with higher sales of its N95 “respirator” masks offset by weakness in transportation and other businesses due to the coronavirus.

3M said home improvement, general cleaning and semiconductors were other areas of stregnth, while the healthcare elective and automotive areas were weak spots amid the upheaval of the COVID-19 shutdowns.

Profits rose 14.5 percent to $1.3 billion, while revenues fell 12.2 percent to $7.2 billion.

3M said it was on track to produce two billion N95 masks in 2020, effectively doubling production rates in response to demand amid ongoing shortages of personal protective equipment reported by hospitals.

The company has established hotlines to report suspected fraud connected to the masks. 3M said it filed 18 lawsuits on fraud and price gouging and secured removal of more than 7,000 counterfeit websites.

3M, which withdrew its full-year forecast in April, said it was still not able to project targets for 2020.

“3M is not able to estimate the full duration, magnitude and pace of recovery across the diverse end markets with reasonable accuracy,” the company said. “Therefore, 3M continues to believe it is prudent to not provide guidance.”

The results translated to $1.78 per share, which was below the $1.80 expected by analysts.

Shares fell 4.5 percent to $155.84 in early trading.

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