3M Sues Performance Supply For Alleged Price Gouging of its Respirator Masks


3M Company (MMM), the U.S. manufacturer announced over the weekend that it filed a lawsuit against New Jersey-based Performance Supply LLC for alleged price gouging and deceptive practices in the sale of its N95 respirators.

The lawsuit filed at the federal court in Manhattan alleges that Performance Supply claimed to be a 3M vendor and offered $45 million in N95 respirators for sale to New York City officials at prices of 500%-600% over 3M’s list price. 3M will seek injunctive relief and sue for damages, the company said in a statement, adding that any damages will be donated to COVID-19 related non-profit organizations.

Last week, 3M clinched a deal with the Trump administration to import 166.5 million of its N95 respirator masks over a three-month period. As part of the agreement, 3M committed to crack down on the recent price-gouging and counterfeiting of its respirator masks used by medical professionals fighting the coronavirus pandemic.

Read more: Trump Clinches Respirator Mask Deal With 3M

Following the agreement, Brian Langenberg, analyst at Langenberg & Co. raised 3M to Buy from Hold with a $180 price target.

TipRanks data shows that overall though Wall Street analysts take a cautious stance on 3M. The company’s Hold analyst consensus rating is based on 4 Holds, 3 Buys, and 2 Sells. The average price target of $160 suggests potential room for a mere 8% gain in the shares in the next 12 months. (See 3M’s stock analysis on TipRanks)

In the lawsuit statement, 3M confirmed that it has not changed the prices of its respirators as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, 3M said it was working with online retailers and technology companies such as Google, Amazon and Facebook to identify and remove counterfeiters and price gougers.

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