updated 4/18/2005 8:25:00 AM ET 2005-04-18T12:25:00

3M Co., the maker of Post-It notes and Scotch tape, said Monday that first-quarter earnings rose 12 percent from a year ago due to sales growth, pricing and improved operational efficiencies.

Net income grew to $809 million, or $1.03 per share, for the three months ended March 31 from $722 million, or 90 cents per share, a year ago. Worldwide sales rose 4.6 percent to $5.17 billion from $4.94 billion last year.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial were looking for the company to post earnings of $1.01 per share on sales of $5.26 billion in the latest quarter.

"Broad-based productivity improvements achieved through our corporate initiatives and solid growth in key areas, like optical films and health care, helped us deliver over 14 percent earnings per share growth in the first quarter," said W. James McNerney, Jr., 3M chairman and CEO. "Improved operational efficiency, sales growth, and pricing were key to overcoming slow economic growth in Western Europe and Japan and continued raw material price pressure."

3M also reaffirmed earnings guidance for 2005, expecting profit to range between $4.15 and $4.25 per share. Second-quarter earnings are expected to be between $1.08 and $1.10 per share.

Analysts are forecasting profit of $1.08 and $4.22 per share for the second quarter and full year, respectively.

Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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