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Diversified technology conglomerate 3M Company (MMM - Analyst Report) has recently announced a dividend of 63.5 cents per share or $2.54 on an annualized basis for second quarter 2013. The dividend is payable on Jun 12 to shareholders of record as of May 24.

3M has paid consecutive quarterly dividends for over 96 years. Based on the closing price of $110.59 as of May 14, 2013, the proposed dividend affirms a yield of 2.3%.

In addition, 3M has a share repurchase program in place, whereby it can repurchase shares worth $7.5 billion over a period of time. As of Mar 31, 2013, approximately $6.9 billion remained available under the existing share repurchase authorization.

3M has consistently returned significant cash to its shareholders. The company had reportedly returned $32 billion to its shareholders over the last 10 years through a combination of dividends and share repurchase transactions, accounting for about 89% of the reported net income. During the last reported quarter, 3M paid cash dividends of $440 million compared to $410 million in the first three months of 2012.

The company also has a healthy liquidity position. Cash and cash equivalents as of Mar 31, 2013 were relatively strong at $2.9 billion, while free cash flow for the three-month period was $670 million.

Formerly known as Minnesota Mining and Manufacturing Company, 3M was founded in 1902 and is currently based in St. Paul, Minnesota. The company operates as a diversified technology enterprise with manufacturing operations across 70 countries. Effective from first quarter 2013, the company has reorganized its segments to better serve its global customers. The realigned structure includes five operating segments compared to the erstwhile six segments of the company. The new business segments of 3M are Industrial, Safety and Graphics, Electronics and Energy, Health Care, and Consumer.

3M presently has a Zacks Rank #4 (Sell). Other leading players in the industry worth reckoning include Crane Co. (CR - Snapshot Report), Honeywell International Inc. (HON - Analyst Report), and Macquarie Infrastructure Company LLC (MIC - Snapshot Report), each carrying a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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