Honeywell won't rule out aerospace M&A targets

David Cote, chairman and chief executive of Honeywell, speaks during The Economist's Buttonwood Gathering in New York October 24, 2012. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

MONTREAL (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc HON.N would not rule out bidding for another major aerospace supplier, among other possible acquisition targets, after merger talks collapsed in March with rival United Technologies Corp UTX.N, the company's chief executive said on Monday.

CEO David Cote said in an interview that Honeywell has around 100 potential acquisition targets in the pipeline at any time that he regularly reviews, but stressed that he was not in a rush to make an acquisition.

“I’ve got a pretty rigorous process for this,” he said on the sidelines of the International Economic Forum of the Americas conference in Montreal.

“When it comes to M&A for us we still have a lot of money, which is a nice position to be in,” he said.

“If we can’t (do a good deal), I’m not going to get hung up on ‘I have to deploy the money’.”

In March, Honeywell scrapped a $90.7 billion offer to buy United Technologies in a merger that would have created a behemoth with combined sales of almost $100 billion, citing UTC’s unwillingness to engage in negotiations.

Airbus Group SE AIR.PA, a major customer of both Honeywell and UTC, expressed concern that the merger would not be in its interests.

Cote, 64, said the failed talks with UTC would not dissuade him from considering other aerospace companies. His greater concern is being disciplined on price.

“If you overpay, you’re dead,” he said.

Reporting by Allison Lampert; Editing by James Dalgleish