3M posts 5.6-percent rise in fourth-quarter healthcare sales

3M reported Thursday that fourth-quarter sales from its healthcare unit rose 5.6 percent year-over-year to $1.3 billion, with strong growth coming from health information systems, skin/wound care and oral care. The company noted that operating income from the healthcare business increased 10.8 percent to $430 million.

CEO Inge Thulin remarked that the "fourth-quarter was a good finish to a successful year...in the face of challenging macroeconomic conditions." Thulin noted that "there remains a degree of uncertainty as we see some economies growing and others are slower to recover," adding "healthcare is doing well, for example." In the three-month period, healthcare sales experienced double-digit growth in Latin America/Canada and Asia Pacific. The company also indicated that sales in China, excluding some units, were up about 10 percent from a year earlier, partly because of stronger sales of health-care supplies.

For the full year, healthcare sales were $5.2 billion, up from $5 billion in 2011, while operating income for the 12-month period rose to $1.6 billion from $1.5 billion last year.

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