3M profit misses as coronavirus crisis hammers sales

3M N95 particulate filtering face mask are seen at a store in East Palo Alto, California, United States on January 26, 2020.

Yichuan Cao | NurPhoto | Getty Images

Industrial conglomerate 3M missed Wall Street estimates for quarterly profit and revenue on Tuesday, hurt by a plunge in demand across its business units due to the coronavirus crisis.

The worldwide lockdowns sapped demand for most of the company’s products, although the drop was cushioned somewhat by strong sales of its respiratory masks.

Demand for masks has surged due to Covid-19 pandemic, as health experts and government officials recommend their usage to control the spread of the pandemic, putting 3M at the heart of a tug of war between countries over supplies.

3M, the world’s biggest mask maker, said it was on track to meet its target of doubling its global output of N95 respirator masks, designed to filter 95% of airborne particles, to 2 billion by the end of 2020.

The company’s net sales fell to $7.2 billion from $8.2 billion in the quarter.

Its operating expenses, however, were down 16% to $5.4 billion, as the company delivered a promised $400 million in cost cuts year-on-year to help offset Covid-19 related impacts.

Net income attributable rose to $1.29 billion, or $2.22 per share, in the second quarter ended June 30, from $1.13 billion, or $1.92 per share, a year earlier.

On an adjusted basis, the maker of Post-it notes and Scotch tape earned $1.78 per share in the quarter.

Analysts on average expected quarterly earnings of $1.80 per share, on revenue $7.3 billion.

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