3M Chairman and CEO Mike Roman mentioned Tuesday the industrial big anticipates demand for its N95 respirator masks to be strong throughout 2021, at the same time as the administration of Covid vaccines drive hopes that the pandemic’s depth will start to wane.
The medical-grade masks are thought-about the most suitable choice to shield towards an infection, and so they have been in want — and at instances, in scarcity — throughout the well being disaster. St. Paul, Minnesota-based 3M began to ramp up production of N95s a couple of 12 months in the past, simply as the novel coronavirus, which first emerged in China in late 2019, started to seize international concern.
“We do expect demand in our N95 respirator masks to be strong as we go through the year,” Roman mentioned Tuesday on CNBC’s “Squawk on the Street.” “We see the demand, the need, from frontline health-care workers and first responders. That’s still our priority. We’re focused on delivering to their demand and also to some critical industries that require that N95 protection.”
Roman’s feedback got here after 3M reported better-than-expected fourth-quarter outcomes. Revenues of $8.58 billion beat Wall Street forecasts for $8.four billion, whereas earnings per share of $2.38 had been 23 cents above estimates.
For the full 12 months, 3M reported 12.3% gross sales development in its health-care phase, which incorporates its respirator masks and merchandise akin to hand sanitizers. The company’s total gross sales of $32.2 billion in 2020 had been up 0.1% in contrast with 2019 figures.
3M mentioned it distributed 2 billion respirator masks throughout the globe final 12 months.
In addition to the near-term want for its masks, Roman mentioned one other issue possible driving sustained demand is governments wanting to replenish their stockpiles. For instance, in August, the Associated Press reported that the U.S. authorities’s nationwide stockpile of private protecting tools for health-care staff at the time was practically depleted.
Shares of 3M had been larger by about 3% Tuesday to nearly $176 apiece — principally flat year-to-date and down barely over the previous 12 months.