3M CEO: We are seeing 'some positive signs' that business will be back

Brian Sozzi
·Editor-at-Large
·2 mins read

3M Chairman and CEO Mike Roman is starting to see some light at the end of the long tunnel that has been the damaging COVID-19 pandemic.

“We did build off a strong performance, another strong performance in the second quarter with an improving sales performance in July. It’s early days. I would say we are seeing it broad-based across businesses and geographies. It’s something, we are seeing improvement in economies starting to come through in our end market,” Roman told Yahoo Finance’s The First Trade. “It’s early days in the third quarter, but to date in July we are seeing low single digit sales growth. Very encouraging signs. We’re seeing some of the markets that were hit hard in the second quarter starting to improve sequentially. All positive signs at this time.”

Investors apparently didn’t get the memo on the turn in 3M’s business (MMM) in July, opting to send shares down 4% in afternoon trading following a challenging second quarter.

3M N95 particulate filtering face mask are seen at a store in East Palo Alto, California, United States on January 26, 2020. There are now 8,235 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 171 death and 143 recovered. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
3M N95 particulate filtering face mask are seen at a store in East Palo Alto, California, United States on January 26, 2020. There are now 8,235 confirmed cases of coronavirus, with 171 death and 143 recovered. (Photo by Yichuan Cao/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Sales declined in all of 3M’s business segments as the pandemic pressured demand for equipment that supports elective health care procedures and auto production. The company also saw a hit in general industrial product demand and office supplies, the latter fueled by retail store closures and the shift to using tech while working at home.

The company did see strength in home improvement products and of course, N95 masks. 3M reiterated its goal to produce 2 billion respirator masks this year, of which 1 billion will be earmarked for the U.S. market.

3M’s net sales for the quarter fell 12.2% from a year ago to $7.2 billion. Analysts had expected $7.3 billion. Adjusted earnings came in at $1.78 a share, missing analyst projections by a penny.

Brian Sozzi is an editor-at-large and co-anchor of The First Trade at Yahoo Finance. Follow Sozzi on Twitter @BrianSozzi and on LinkedIn.