United Tech upbeat on sales to 2020; first quarter view lags Street

Thu Mar 13, 2014 3:04pm EDT

(Reuters) - Diversified manufacturer United Technologies Corp. (UTX.N) forecast sales may approach $100 billion by the end of the decade, up from roughly $64 billion expected for 2014, as the company grows at about twice the pace of the global economy.

Despite the upbeat long-term outlook, shares of the large manufacturer of jet engines, elevators and climate control systems fell 2.2 percent after it forecast first-quarter profit below Wall Street's target. The stock was the biggest decliner in the Dow Jones industrials index .DJI in afternoon trading at $113.21 on the New York Stock Exchange.

At a meeting it held for analysts and investors, United Tech said it aims to increase revenue by mid-single-digit percentages annually, excluding acquisitions, from now until 2020. The company is targeting revenue rising to $85 billion to as much $100 billion by 2020, with deals potentially helping the company reach the high end.

"We have solid programs, solid backlog that is going to allow us to drive our top-line growth through the end of the decade and sales will approach $100 billion," Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes told the conference, which was held in United Tech's hometown of Hartford, Connecticut and broadcast over the Internet.

"We're going to grow almost two times world GDP over this period just based on the backlog that we see today," Hayes said.

United Tech's businesses that serve buildings, such as Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioning units, are benefiting from growth of cities in emerging markets such as China. Its Pratt & Whitney jet engine business is launching a new engine expected to revitalize its sales on commercial airliners.

The company's Sikorsky helicopter unit has been in focus since a January report in publication Defense News said United Technologies was weighing options for Sikorsky, including a potential sale or spinoff.

When asked at the meeting about Sikorsky, Chief Executive Officer Louis Chenevert said the company does not comment on rumors. But he touted opportunities for the maker of Black Hawk helicopters, including the potential for expanding margins and international sales.

"Sikorsky, in my view, is a UTC kind of company," Chenevert said.

Asked about acquisitions, Hayes said United Technologies would be more focused on "bigger" deals than smaller, and was more likely to look for deals to support its commercial businesses than for aerospace. However, the company, which struck a roughly $16 billion deal a few years ago for aircraft components maker Goodrich Corp, is not expected to do anything big soon, Hayes said.

"I don't see a big deal as I stand here today in the next 18 months," Hayes said.

The company forecast earnings of about $1.25 for the first quarter, compared to the average analyst estimate of $1.38, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Restructuring costs are weighing on the first-quarter results, Hayes said.

United Tech backed its previous 2014 forecast of earnings in a range of $6.55 to $6.85 per share on sales of about $64 billion. Analysts are looking for earnings of $6.82 per share on sales of $65.1 billion.

United Tech shares are down about 0.5 percent in 2014 after a strong performance in 2013.

(Reporting by Lewis Krauskopf; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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