3M launched an internal investigation this week after discovering irregular travel, marketing and record-keeping by certain business groups in China, company officials disclosed Friday in a government filing.

"The company initiated an internal investigation to determine whether the expenditures may have violated the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act or other potentially applicable anti-corruption laws," said the filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). "The company cannot predict at this time the outcome of its investigation or what potential actions may be taken by the Department of Justice or Securities and Exchange Commission."

3M gave no further details and said it is cooperating with the government agencies. It has hired outside counsel and a forensic accounting firm to assist with the investigation, officials said.

The company in a statement said it has a "robust" global anti-corruption compliance program to detect any possible misconduct.

"3M has a culture of doing business the right way. We have high expectations of all our employees and business partners, and expect that our business dealings are done in compliance with the law," the statement said.

The potentially problematic disclosure came one day after 3M announced its second-quarter results Thursday.

The Maplewood-based industrial giant saw its quarterly profit drop 39% to $1.3 billion while sales slid 2.6% to $8.2 billion.

3M's stock price fell 2% to close Friday at $173.98 per share.

Dee DePass • 612-673-7725