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3M to Focus Company Growth Outside U.S.

Wed, 05/10/2006 - 8:51am

3M Co. Chairman and CEO George Buckley told shareholders on Tuesday that the diversified manufacturer's growth will focus on Brazil, Russia, India, China and Poland because those markets are growing faster than the U.S.

The diversified manufacturer makes well-known products such as Scotch tape and Post-it notes, but derives the bulk of its sales from products such as coatings for computer screens and ceramic cores for powerlines.

Sixty-one percent of 3M sales already come from outside the United States, and Buckley predicted that would rise to 70 percent by 2011.

Even though growth will focus on those five countries, ''but in point of fact we have no intention ... of leaving anyone behind,'' Buckley said at the company's annual meeting.

Last week, Buckley said 3M would increase its investment in those countries in coming years. At the same time, he said ''organic'' revenue growth, meaning growth of existing businesses, would be 5.5 percent to 8 percent for 2006 in local currencies.

''I think we can grow the company much faster, and sustain that growth,'' he said told shareholders on Tuesday.

Maplewood-based 3M has a proud culture of inventors and scientists, and Buckley, who joined the company in December, said 3M was counting on them to provide future growth. He said the 3M tradition of allowing scientists to spend 15 percent of their time on pet projects outside of their usual responsibilities will continue.

 

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