By Lewis Krauskopf
Jan 24 (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc reported higher-than-expected fourth-quarter profit and revenue on Friday, as sales grew across its major segments.
The diversified U.S. manufacturer of aerospace parts and climate control systems backed its 2014 financial targets, set last month, but forecast first-quarter earnings below Wall Street’s estimates.
“While we think it’s prudent to remain cautious on the global economy at this time, we’re increasingly confident in our 2014 outlook based on the momentum from the fourth quarter,” Honeywell Chief Executive Dave Cote said in a statement.
Honeywell shares rose 1 percent to $90.70 in pre-market trading.
Edward Jones analyst Christian Mayes characterized the results as a “pretty good quarter,” and said investors would likely now focus on the company’s investor day in March, when Honeywell is expected to reveal five-year financial targets.
“That’s where the focus where the stock is going to go,” said Mayes, who rates the shares a “buy.” “People will probably be excited about the numbers that will be revealed, given their history of doing so well and meeting the last targets.”
Honeywell’s fourth-quarter net income rose to $947 million, or $1.19 per share. That is up considerably from $251 million, or 32 cents per share, a year earlier, when the company recorded a large pension expense.
Excluding one-time items, Honeywell’s earnings of $1.24 per share beat the average estimate of analysts by 3 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Revenue increased 8 percent to $10.39 billion, nearly $200 million ahead of estimates.
In its two largest segments, aerospace and automation and control solutions, profit rose 6 percent and 8 percent, respectively. Earnings increased 30 percent in its smaller performance materials and technologies segment, whose products include chemicals used in oil and gas production.
Analysts were also impressed with the performance of the company’s relatively small transportation systems business, which makes turbochargers and where profit soared 41 percent.
Honeywell said earlier this month it was selling its friction materials business, which makes brake pads, to Federal Mogul Corp for about $155 million.
Edward Jones’ Mayes said transportation systems could have higher profit margins after the sale of the friction materials business.
Honeywell confirmed its 2014 financial targets, which include 8 percent to 10 percent growth in earnings per share and a 3 percent to 4 percent increase in sales.
However, the company forecast first-quarter earnings in a range of $1.23 to $1.27 per share, below Wall Street’s expectation of $1.29.
Honeywell shares rose 42 percent in 2013, outpacing the broader markets.