Best known for its Post-it and Scotch brands, 3M makes more than 55,000 products, including everything from masking tape to asthma inhalers. 3M's profitability is the beyond compare in the industrial world. The firm generates operating profit margins in the 20%-24% range even after spending about 6% of its revenue on research and development.
It also boasts a terrific balance sheet. The company has a free cash flow margin of more than 15% and easily covers its obligations. 3M operates in more than 200 countries, and more than half of its sales come from outside the United States.