United Tech sees 2012 profit up 10 percent

Thu Dec 15, 2011 6:52pm EST

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(Reuters) - Diversified conglomerate United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) said on Thursday it expected to grow profits by about 10 percent in 2012, lifted by sales growth at its Otis elevator and Hamilton Sundstrand aircraft systems units and better margins at its climate, controls and security business.

United Tech forecast 2012 earnings per share of about $6, excluding restructuring and one-time items.

It was not immediately clear if that figure was comparable to the $5.90 per share analysts expected, since the company's forecast excludes the impact of its planned Goodrich acquisition.

United Tech forecast 2012 sales of about $64 billion, including acquired Goodrich revenue, or $59 billion to $60 billion from its base business.

"Key takeaway: our EPS growth outlook for the base business is 10 percent," Chief Executive Louis Chenevert said at the company's annual outlook meeting in New York.

"We feel good for a mid-year close in '12," Chenevert said about the Goodrich deal, United Tech's biggest ever. Chenevert placed the biggest bet of his tenure as chief executive with a $16.5 billion cash deal for the aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp GR.N, a deal that would boost the U.S. manufacturer's presence in the civilian aerospace market.

Chenevert said emerging markets had strong momentum, but growth there was moderating.

"We're planning for slow growth in Europe and North America. I'd say slow growth, or flat ... In Europe, economic sentiment is deteriorating as we speak. The ongoing debt crisis ... is really dampening economic outlook."

Since United Tech announced third quarter results in mid-October, order trends and foreign exchange were about in line with expectations, taxes were more favorable, and the company's fire and security business was weaker than expected, Chenevert said.

Foreign exchange and pension costs will likely be headwinds next year, the CEO said, but predicting the value of the euro was "almost impossible."

(Reporting By Nick Zieminski in New York, editing by Bernard Orr)

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