April 23, 2019 / 11:09 AM / 5 months ago

United Technologies raises full-year profit forecast on Rockwell lift

(Reuters) - United Technologies Corp posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit and raised its full-year earnings forecast on Tuesday, boosted by robust demand for aircraft parts at one of the manufacturers better placed to ride out the fallout of the Boeing 737 MAX groundings.

FILE PHOTO: United Technologies logo is displayed on a screen at the post where it's stock is traded on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., September 5, 2017. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Shares rose as much as 4 percent to $142.25, after the company said the acquisition of aero parts maker Rockwell Collins had helped to cushion the impact from Boeing’s reduction of production rates for its best-selling jet.

UTC also said it was on track to separate into three companies in the first half of 2020, leaving it focused on its aerospace units through Collins Aerospace and the Pratt & Whitney engines business.

“The worry heading into the print was that the company would take its eye off the ball given the complexity of planning the three-way spin and Collins integration. All those moving parts look to be on track,” said Deane Dray, an analyst with RBC Capital Markets.

UTC, which also makes Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioners, raised the mid-point of its 2019 adjusted earnings per share forecast by increasing the lower end by 10 cents to $7.80, while keeping the upper end unchanged at $8.

The outlook includes an up to 10 cents per share impact from the groundings of the 737 MAX, assuming production remained at 42 aircraft per month for the rest of the year, Chief Financial Officer Akhil Johri said.

“Hopefully, it would be less than that. But that’s what the 10 cents is made up of,” Johri said.

UTC, whose Pratt & Whitney geared turbofan engines power Airbus SE’s A320 jets, said sales in the unit that houses Rockwell Collins surged about 71 percent to $6.51 billion in the first quarter, as a growing fleet of aircraft lifted demand for spare parts.

“We made significant progress this quarter on the integration of Rockwell Collins,” Chief Executive Officer Gregory Hayes said.

On an adjusted basis, UTC earned $1.91 per share in the three months ended March 31, beating analysts’ average estimate of $1.71, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

The company said net sales rose 20.5 percent to $18.37 billion, above estimates of $17.99 billion.

Since the 737 Max groundings on March 10, UTC shares have gained 10 percent, compared with a marginal decline in the broader S&P 500 Aerospace and Defense index.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Sriraj Kalluvila

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