3M profits — that’s a big pile of Post-it Notes; also: Olympics should boost 3M and Seagate but not Northwest, and storms and hail dent Travelers, profits

That’s a lot of Post-it Notes. 3M said today it recorded profits of $945 million during its second quarter. That’s a 3 percent increase from last year and better than Wall Street analysts had expected. Rising international sales more than made up for losses from the slumping U.S. economy. Sales are up 32 percent in Latin America, 18 percent in Europe, 17 percent in the Asian Pacific and 14 percent in Canada.

More 3M: The company is going for gold — or at least yuan — at the Beijing Olympics. Today’s second-quarter earnings summary noted a couple of ways in which the Maplewood firm is getting a bump from the summer games. Its Filtrate Commercial HVAC Filters are being installed at Beijing’s National Stadium to improve indoor air quality. And its commercial graphics products are being “widely used” in conjunction with the games.

More Olympics: A hard-drive system developed at a Shakopee tech center will help form the backbone of NBC’s broadcast operations in Beijing, reports Finance and Commerce’s Arundhati Parmar. Seagate Technology‘s engineering and design center produced the media servers and storage system that will allow the network to produce 3,600 hours of high-definition coverage, more than three times what it produced during the 2004 games.

Northwest Airlines doesn’t expect the Olympics will do much to help it get out of the red. Asked about the impact by an analyst during Wednesday’s earnings call, marketing director Tim Griffin said: “It’s not material in itself and if you look at China, you can see that people kind of arrange their travel have nothing to do with the Olympics, going before and after, and you have directionality issues. It typically ends up being much ado about nothing on a revenue perspective.”

Tornadoes, flooding and hail storms
made a dent in Travelers‘ second-quarter profits, Nicole Garrison-Sprenger reports in the Pioneer Press. Earnings fell 25 percent, compared with the same three months last year. The St. Paul-based insurance company paid out $356 million in catastrophe losses in what was an unusually busy season for severe weather around the country.

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