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3M Posts Mixed Q1 Earnings, Trims 2022 Profit Outlook as Mask Demand Slumps

"In response to feedback from our shareholders, starting in the first quarter we are reporting adjusted earnings to exclude costs for significant litigation," said CEO Mike Roman.


Updated at 12:25 pm EST

3M Co.  (MMM) -  posted a mixed set of first quarter earnings Tuesday, while trimming its full-year profit forecast, as a slump in Covid mask demand, as well as litigation costs linked in part to a settlement in Belgium clipped the industrial group's bottom line. 

3M said adjusted profits for the three months ending in March were pegged at $2.31 per share, down 16.6% from the same period last year and largely in-line with the Street consensus forecast. Group revenues, 3M said, rose just under 1% to $8.8 billion, just shy of analysts' forecasts of an $8.85 billion tally.

The group noted in early February that the expected decline in "Covid-related disposable respirator demand" would hit organic sales by 2 percentage points and take 45 cents from its overall bottom line. 

3M said it now sees GAAP earnings in the region of $9.89 to $10.39 per share, down from a prior forecast of between $10.15 and $10.65 per share, with organic sales growth of around 2% to 5% as it commits around $4 billion to research and development and capital expenditures.

The updated guidance for 3M's own bovada accounting measure is between $10.75 and $11.25 per share.

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"In a challenging global environment, 3M delivered a strong start to 2022 with solid growth, operating margins, and robust cash generation," said CEO Mike Roman. "In response to feedback from our shareholders and to provide additional clarity on the strength of our underlying business performance, starting in the first quarter we are reporting adjusted earnings to exclude costs for significant litigation."

"We continue to prioritize actions to better serve our customers while managing supply chain and inflationary challenges," he added. "Looking ahead, our teams will continue to focus on improving our operational performance and delivering value for our customers and shareholders."  

3M shares were marked 3.2% lower in mid-day Tuesday trading following the earnings release to change hands at $143.9 each, a move that would trim the stock's year-to-date decline to around 19%.

"We are still digesting the moving pieces of the adjusted EPS definition change to exclude all impacts of accrual changes and legal fee for respirator mask, PFAS, and Combat Arms matters," said Credit Suisse analyst John Walsh, who carries a 'neutral' rating with a $173.00 price target on the stock.

"Per an updated guidance slide, IPI/GDP is revised lower, as is Auto OEM builds and smartphone shipments," he added. "Supply chain is also 'worsening'".