3M posts earnings of $1.79 a share vs $1.80 estimate


Diversified manufacturer 3M reported quarterly increases in profit and revenue that fell shy of Wall Street estimates, as currency effects weighed on sales and costs rose.

First-quarter net income rose to $1.21 billion, or $1.79 per share, from $1.13 billion, or $1.61 per share, a year ago.

Analysts on average were looking for $1.80 per share, according to Thomson Reuters.

Share prices fell more than 2 percent in premarket trading. (Click here to see where 3M is trading now.)

Still, 3M chief Inge Thulin called it "a solid quarter."

"Our teams delivered positive organic growth in all business groups and geographic areas, we posted strong margins across the portfolio and we returned a record amount of cash to shareholders," he said in a statement. "At the same time we increased investments in R&D and commercialization to help secure future growth in the business. 3M is well-positioned to generate sustainable, profitable growth far into the future."

Analysts had expected the company to report earnings of $1.80 a share on $7.96 billion in revenue, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson Reuters.

Scott Eells | Bloomberg | Getty Images

After lackluster quarterly results last January, 3M Thulin said in a March interview he expects its sales growth in China to triple the global average over the next five years. The country's plans to tackle environmental and public health issues like pollution will drive sales of 3M's consumer and health products including face masks and water filters.

The company announced last December it would begin buying back up to $22 billion in shares through 2017—one of the largest buyback plans announced that year. It also raised its dividend at that time from 88.5 cents from 63.5 cents.

3M's board has also lately rebuffed attempts by activist investors James McRitchie and John Chevedden to wrest greater control over the company, by turning down a proposal that would allow them to take certain actions without board or shareholder approval.

By CNBC with Reuters