3M Board Approves $1 Billion Stock Buyback

Diversified manufacturer 3M Co. (MMM) said on Tuesday its board of directors approved the buyback of an additional $1 billion in stock.

The company, known for such consumer brands as Scotch tape, Post-It notes and Thinsulate insulation, said it will use the shares to support its employee stock-based compensation plans and for other corporate purposes.

3M's stock was up 1.5 percent in noon trading, but is down about 10 percent so far this year on concerns about the slowing U.S. economy. Since hitting its highest price in almost two years in early May, 3M's shares are off 20 percent.

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The move puts 3M's total repurchase authorization at $3 billion for the period ending February 28, 2007. At the end of June, 3M had more than 753 million shares outstanding.

"Our superior return on capital, strong balance sheet and global business portfolio make 3M an attractive investment," Chief Executive George Buckley said in a statement.

By the end of 2006, 3M said it will have bought back $8.5 billion in stock over the previous 5 years.

The St. Paul-Minnesota-based company also declared a regular quarterly dividend of 46 cents a share, payable September 12 to shareholders of record as of August 25.

3M's shares were up $1.06 at $69.68 in noon trading on the New York Stock Exchange.

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