United Technologies 4Q profit up nearly 11 pct

HARTFORD, Conn. (AP) — United Technologies Corp. said Wednesday its fourth-quarter profit rose nearly 11 percent, propelled by growth in its aerospace businesses. Total revenue increased 1 percent.

The manufacturer of elevators, jet engines, heating and cooling equipment for buildings and other industrial products is banking on growth in commercial aerospace as Congress and the Obama administration plan to slash military spending.

A $16.4 billion acquisition of aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp. is on track to close by the middle of 2012, while United Technologies’ jet engine division Pratt & Whitney is spending $1.5 billion to buy out Rolls Royce from a joint venture that makes engines for the Airbus A320 plane.

The two deals position United Technologies for future earnings growth, CEO Louis Chenevert said Wednesday. He has said the Goodrich deal could increase company revenue by 10 percent this year, but will not add to profit until 2013.

Much of the company’s existing aerospace business is humming. In the October-December quarter, jet engine maker Pratt & Whitney’s operating profit rose 12 percent, while profit at aerospace parts maker Hamilton Sundstrand jumped 21 percent.

But operating profit at helicopter maker unit Sikorsky Aircraft, a key military supplier, fell 13 percent. Sikorsky announced in September it was trimming its worldwide work force of 18,000 by about 3 percent as U.S. forces exit Iraq and draw down in Afghanistan.

Asked by an analyst to comment on potential asset sales to help fund the Goodrich deal and “some chatter” about the future of Sikorsky, Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes said United Technologies is not considering jettisoning the helicopter maker.

United Technologies is instead weighing selling divisions it doesn’t consider essential, such as installation businesses in its Fire & Security segment, he said on a conference call. The company had also planned to sell about $4 billion in equity and take on $12 billion in debt to fund the Goodrich deal. United Technologies will in mid-March announce a plan to finance the acquisition that cuts the amount of equity to be issued.

United Technologies said operating profit at the Fire & Security business, which makes fire alarms and security systems, fell nearly 45 percent to $130 million during the quarter. Sterne Agee analyst Peter Arment said selling some of the division’s units could improve the segment overall.

The company’s other construction-related divisions performed better. Air conditioner and heating products maker Carrier’s operating profit jumped 57 percent. Profit rose 8 percent at Otis, the elevator manufacturing division.

The Hartford, Conn., company said Wednesday that total net income in the October-December period was $1.33 billion, or $1.47 per share. That’s up from $1.2 billion, or $1.31 per share, in the same quarter in 2010.

Revenue grew to $14.97 billion from $14.86 billion.

Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting earnings per share of $1.46 and revenue of $15.06 billion.

United Technologies’ costs and expenses were almost unchanged from the prior period.

For all of 2011, net income was $4.98 billion, or $5.49 per share. That’s up 14 percent from 2010. Revenue for 2011 rose 7 percent to $58.19 billion.

The company said that it still expects 2012 profit of $5.80 to $6 per share, with revenue of $59 to $60 billion. Analysts expect earnings of $5.64 per share on revenue of $62.93 billion.

The outlook reflects caution about the European economy, as well as prospects for growth in the U.S. and the global aerospace market, Arment said.

Shares fell 13 cents to close at $77.65 Wednesday.

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