July 21, 2017 / 10:46 AM / a month ago

Honeywell beats profit estimates, lifts full-year forecasts

(Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc (HON.N) reported a better-than-expected quarterly profit, as sales in its aerospace unit and the business that caters to the energy industry were not as bad as it had feared.

The company's shares rose as much as 1.8 percent to a record high of $137.37.

Sales in Honeywell's aerospace business, which activist investor Daniel Loeb wants to be spun off, fell about 3 percent to $3.67 billion in the second quarter ended June 30, but the drop was much smaller than the company's forecast of 5 to 7 percent.

The unit, which makes jet engines and provides spare parts, repair, overhaul and maintenance services, benefited from strength in its commercial aviation after-sales business and growth in U.S. defense volumes, the company said.

Honeywell is reviewing Loeb's demand and the company is expected to announce a decision by early fall.

Loeb, who runs hedge fund Third Point LLC, has said a spin off could create more than $20 billion in shareholder value.

Meanwhile, Honeywell said it was looking to scale up its smaller businesses.The company may look at M&A opportunities to boost its performance materials and technologies (PMT) business and safety and productivity solutions (SPS) unit, Chief Financial Officer Thomas Szlosek told Reuters.

"Our most prominent (M&A) opportunities are in PMT and in safety and productivity solutions."

FILE PHOTO: A view of the corporate sign outside the Honeywell International Automation and Control Solutions manufacturing plant in Golden Valley, Minnesota, January 28, 2010.Eric Miller/File Photo

Szlosek said the recent Intelligrated deal could be a platform to embark on a whole new path of M&A around the supply chain, logistics and freight management.

The company acquired Intelligrated Inc, which installs automated material handling equipment in fulfillment centers and warehouses that serve online retailers, for $1.5 billion.

Sales in Honeywell's PMT unit, which makes catalysts and adsorbents used for petroleum refining, dropped about 8 percent to $2.24 billion in the quarter. Honeywell had forecast a decline of 10 percent to 12 percent.

The unit benefited from higher sales of Solstice low global-warming potential refrigerant products.

Honeywell also raised the low end of its 2017 earnings per share forecast by 10 cents to $7.00, keeping the high end unchanged at $7.10.

It now expects sales of $39.3 billion to $40 billion, up from its previous forecast of $38.6 billion to $39.5 billion.

Net income attributable to Honeywell increased 5.5 percent to $1.39 billion, or $1.80 per share, above expectations of $1.78 per share.

Revenue rose about 1 percent to $10.08 billion, topping expectations of $9.89 billion.

Larger rival General Electric Co (GE.N) posted a 59-percent decline in second-quarter profit.

Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Maju Samuel and Anil D'Silva

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