"Our first-quarter results demonstrate the strength of 3M's global presence and the power of our diverse business portfolio," said George Buckley, 3M chairman, president and CEO. "Two-thirds of our sales came from our international subsidiaries, and growth in many developing economies enabled us to overcome economic challenges in the U.S. and to fund investments to secure the future of our enduring franchises. I applaud the efforts and dedication of 3M employees worldwide for delivering these results."
Four of the company's six global businesses achieved double-digit profit growth in the quarter, namely industrial and transportation, health care, safety security and protection services and electro and communications, which more than offset profit declines in 3M's consumer and office and display and graphics businesses.
Mr. Buckley continued, "While economic conditions are uncertain, we remain focused on critical growth drivers including 3M's world-renowned research and development capability, continued investment in our many enduring franchises, strategic acquisitions and new manufacturing plants that will improve our ability to serve customers. We will continue to balance growth and operational excellence in order to meet our commitments to our shareholders and to our customers around the world."
In its healthcare segment, sales rose 12% to $1.1 billion. 3M saw the strongest sales growth in medical, dental and orthodontics businesses. Positive sales growth was achieved in all major geographies, led by Europe. Operating income in this sector increased 19.6% to $321 million, with margins of nearly 30%, excluding special items in the first quarter of 2007.