3M recently announced first-quarter sales of $5.1 billion, a decrease of 21.3% from the first quarter of 2008. Net income was $518 million, or $0.74 per share, versus $1.0 billion, or $1.38 per share in the corresponding period last year. Excluding special items in 2009, per share earnings were $0.81, down 41% year-on-year.

“As expected, the global economic slowdown dramatically affected our businesses in the first quarter,” said George W. Buckley, 3M chairman, president and CEO. “Substantial end-market declines and continued inventory takedowns in major industries, including automotive, consumer electronics and general industrial manufacturing, resulted in significantly lower sales and profits. Accordingly, we aggressively reduced our cost structure, lowered manufacturing output and intensified our attention to operational improvement. The combination of these actions drove strong operating income margins of more than 17%.”

Buckley continued, “In these extraordinary times, 3M employees around the world are energized by the challenges, remain keenly focused on our customers and are steadfastly committed to building for the future. In 2009, we will enhance our balance sheet by improving our free cash flow while still maintaining a significant investment in R&D. Our strategy will strengthen the company and position us for even greater success when global economies recover.”

The company adjusted its 2009 sales and earnings expectations to reflect ongoing global economic uncertainty. 3M now expects 2009 organic sales volume to decline between 11% and 15%, versus a previous planning assumption of negative 5% to negative 9%. The company also expects 2009 full-year earnings to be in the range of $3.90 to $4.30 per share, down from a previous range of $4.30 to $4.70. All estimates quoted exclude special items.

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