(Reuters) - Diversified U.S. manufacturer United Technologies Corp (UTX.N) plans to buy back at least $1 billion of its shares next year, returning to a normal spending pattern after closing its largest-ever acquisition, Chief Executive Louis Chenevert said.
“We’re going to resume share buybacks next year,” Chenevert told investors on Thursday. “We’re committed to $1 billion, although I’d love to do $2-plus billion.”
The world’s largest maker of elevators and air conditioners, which has a $71.88 billion market value, also plans to spend about $1 billion on acquisitions in 2013, primarily small deals.
“Big deals, in my view, are done at UTC,” Chenevert said. The company had halted share buybacks this year as it focused on financing its $16.5 billion takeover of aerospace components maker Goodrich Corp. That deal closed in July.
Chenevert said U.S. sales of residential air conditioners had been weaker than the company had expected this year, given the unusually hot summer weather that prevailed across much of the nation. He said demand in Europe was expected to remain weak for the next two to three years.
“Europe is challenging, and China is slower growth than we expected,” he said.
United Tech shares gained 49 cents to $79.32 in morning trading on the New York Stock Exchange.
Reporting By Scott Malone; Editing by Gerald E. McCormick and Maureen Bavdek