United Tech profit tops Street on North America gains

Tue Apr 24, 2012 7:01am EDT

(Reuters) - Diversified manufacturer United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) posted first quarter earnings that topped Wall Street forecasts, helped by better-than-expected demand for residential heating and cooling systems in North America.

Factoring out three units that the world's largest maker of elevators and air conditioners has put up for sale, earnings came to $1.26 billion, or $1.31 per share, up 19 percent from $1.05 billion, or $1.06 per share, a year earlier and above the $1.20 per share analysts had expected, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Net income, including write-offs related to those businesses and other one-time items, fell 67.4 percent to $330 million from $1.01 billion, United Tech said on Tuesday.

Sales declined 2 percent to $12.42 billion, below the $12.71 billion Wall Street had expected.

The company is in the midst of the biggest changes to its portfolio since Louis Chenevert took the helm as chief executive officer in 2008.

In the next few months, United Tech aims to close its largest-ever acquisition, a $16.5 billion deal for aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp GR.N. It is also trying to sell three smaller businesses -- Rocketdyne, Clipper Windpower and Hamilton Sundstrand's industrial equipment operations -- in an effort to raise cash and avoid selling shares to fund the Goodrich deal.

This quarter's results treat the three businesses now on the block as discontinued.

The Hartford, Connecticut-based company held steady its full-year forecast, which calls for earnings per share of $5.30 to $5.50 per share, flat to up 4 percent, on revenue of $61 billion to $62 billion, up about 10 percent, including Goodrich and factoring out the three units now on the block.

Citing an uncertain economic environment, the company raised its planned restructuring spending for the year to $450 million from $350 million.

The first quarter went well for the big manufacturers who have reported earnings so far. General Electric Co (GE.N), Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) and Ingersoll Rand Plc (IR.N) have all reported results that topped analysts' forecasts.

(Reporting By Scott Malone in Boston; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn and Gerald E. McCormick)