(Adds 3M CFO comments)
NEW YORK, June 5 (Reuters) - 3M Co’s finance chief, who visited Germany and France last week, said his trip showed that 3M’s European businesses are neither getting better nor worse.
Western Europe remains weak but the company is sticking to its earlier forecast that calls for 2 to 5 percent core sales growth this year, Chief Financial Officer David Meline told an investor conference.
“We didn’t come away with any indication of any significant change in the outlook for the (European) business,” Meline told the JP Morgan Diversified Industries conference. “We came in to 2012 with a fairly cautious view ... That still looks like a good view. We haven’t seen any big changes jump out at us since we did the original plan.”
Meline, whose company’s performance is heavily dependent on economic trends, said 3M was prepared for a significant economic downturn but does not currently expect one.
Separately, Meline said the diversified manufacturer was on track to do about $1 billion to $2 billion in acquisitions this year and that prices were becoming more “realistic.” Any deals are more likely to be small “bolt-ons” than “transformational” ones, he said.
3M is reviewing its strategy and its portfolio now that Chief Executive Inge Thulin is also the company’s chairman, the CFO said. But since Thulin was instrumental in shaping long-term strategy under prior CEO George Buckley, investors will not face surprises.
“You shouldn’t expect a big shift in direction,” Meline said.
3M shares were down 10 cents, or 0.1 percent, at $82.52 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. (Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York; Editing by Gary Hill)