3M CEO starts to lay out plans to boost performance

Thu Jan 24, 2013 10:09am EST
 
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By Scott Malone

(Reuters) - 3M Co began to unveil on Thursday some of the steps Chief Executive Officer Inge Thulin is making to improve profitability at underperforming units.

Thulin, who took the top job at the diversified U.S. manufacturer in February, said last year that he had identified a handful of units that it would need to fix, sell or close.

The maker of Post-It notes and films used in television screens is merging its security and traffic-safety units, a shift that will result in the elimination about 300 jobs, Thulin told investors on a conference call to discuss fourth-quarter earnings, which met Wall Street forecasts.

He said he did not plan to make drastic changes to 3M's broad lineup of businesses.

"These situations are a few when compared to 3M's overall portfolio," Thulin said, adding that he plans to act quickly to fix businesses that the company identifies as troubled.

"They will not stay under strategic review for long," he said. "We will take action."

'DEGREE OF UNCERTAINTY'

The company, which beat Wall Street's sales targets because of strong demand for office products and from the electronics sector, said it expected to increase earnings by 6 percent to 10 percent this year, despite an uneven world economy.   Continued...