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Mounting inflation will weigh on 3M Co. through year-end as spiking prices for everything from polypropylene, chemicals and other raw materials to logistics and labor show no signs of abating, Chief Executive Officer Mike Roman said.
“It is a headwind that we expect to persist through the second half,” Roman said in an interview after the reported second-quarter earnings. His St. Paul, Minnesota-based company has a broad view on the U.S. economy because it touches both consumer products like Scotch tape and Post-it Notes, as well as safety equipment, abrasives and films for commercial and industrial use.
Roman’s sentiment was echoed Tuesday by bosses at other major industrial companies, including General Electric Co. Rising raw-material costs, crimped labor markets and logistics bottlenecks appear poised to continue vexing companies as economies push to reopen. Federal Reserve policy makers started a two-day meeting Tuesday, where one main question is whether current inflation levels are only temporary.
Inflation trimmed 3M’s adjusted earnings of $2.59 a share by 17 cents, more than it expected as higher raw materials and logistics costs overwhelmed price hikes. 3M now estimates that more expensive raw materials and logistics will reduce full-year earnings by as much as 80 cents a share from a maximum of 50 cents previously, with most of the impact in the second half.
Roman said 3M is raising prices broadly across its portfolio, along with other actions, to try to mitigate the impact. Most of those benefits, however, won’t occur until the fourth quarter.
GE boss Larry Culp likewise said inflation will present a bigger challenge in the second half. So far, the effects have been somewhat muted through cost controls and in part by the makeup of the industrial giant’s portfolio, which includes long-term contracts with mechanisms to pass higher raw materials on to customers.
“We’re not immune,” Culp said in an interview. “We are going to have a tougher slog here in all likelihood in the second half.”
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