- Quick Take
- 3M has posted impressive growth in its sales and profits in the recent years driven by its innovation and growth from the developing markets, which constituted 34% of its sales in 2012.
- Looking ahead, rising disposable incomes in developing countries present 3M with opportunities to expand its consumer and healthcare businesses in these regions.
- Separately, in the near term, 3M faces a tough business environment due to softness in the global economic growth.
Improved penetration in the consumer and healthcare sectors of the developing world, including Asia-Pacific and Latin America, can add significant growth to sales and profits of 3M (NYSE:MMM) over the coming years. Currently, these fast growing developing regions constitute around 20% of 3M’s consumer and healthcare segment sales. In comparison, these regions constitute nearly 40% of the company’s other segment (industrial, safety & graphics and electronics & energy) sales. 
We currently have a stock price estimate of $110 for 3M, approximately in line with its current market price.
3M’s Industrial, Safety And Electronics Businesses Are Established In Developing Regions
Over the past several years, high infrastructure and manufacture spending from the developing regions maintained high demand for 3M’s industrial abrasives, adhesives and tapes, highway reflective signage solutions, roofing granules, telecom copper splicing and other related products. As a result, the company was able to build out its industrial, safety & graphics and electronics & energy businesses in many developing countries. By 2012, Asia-Pacific and Latin America together generated about 40% of 3M’s industrial segment sales and 38% of its safety & graphics segment sales. 
Rising Consumer And Healthcare Spending From Developing Regions Will Drive Growth
However, the share of developing regions in 3M’s consumer and healthcare segment sales was relatively lower at 22% and 21% respectively, in 2012.  Developed countries due to their more mature markets, higher per capita and disposable incomes occupied a larger share in the consumer and healthcare segment sales of the company.
Looking ahead, 3M has the opportunity to increase its consumer and healthcare sales from the developing regions as the standard of living and disposal incomes are rising in these regions. 3M provides office stationery like tapes and repositionable notes, home care products like Scotch Brite and air filtration systems, bandages and retail abrasives as part of its consumer product portfolio; and provides infection prevention products like surgical clippers, oral care products, transparent IV dressings and inhalation systems in its healthcare portfolio.
Overall, in 2012, developing regions generated 34% of 3M’s sales, and through growth from consumer and healthcare markets of the developing regions, 3M anticipates to raise the share of developing regions in its sales to 40%-45% by 2017. 
Separately, the company had posted marginal growth in its profits in the first quarter but had to cut its outlook due to weak global economic growth. (See 3M Posts Higher Profits But Cuts Outlook On Weak Demand) The company continues to face a challenging business environment in many geographies and sectors; however, it anticipates some improvement in the second half, specifically in the consumer electronic markets.
- 3M’s presentation at the EPG conference, May 20, 2013, www.3m.com
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