(Corrects to remove extraneous word “says” from headline)
By Sagarika Jaisinghani
Oct 17 (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc, a diversified manufacturer of aircraft parts and electronic equipment, posted a better-than-expected third-quarter profit, helped partly by higher margins in its key aerospace business.
It also raised the low end of its full-year forecast range for both profit and revenue, and said it is looking for acquisitions after having bulked up its ability to evaluate and fund deals of various sizes.
“The pipelines of potential deals are as strong as they’ve ever been. It’s just a matter of time and the stars lining up,” Tom Szlosek, senior vice president and chief financial officer at Honeywell, said in an interview.
The Morristown, New Jersey-based manufacturer laid out a financial plan in March that projected spending $10 billion on acquisitions over a five-year period.
“You haven’t seen significant deals done, but that doesn’t mean behind the scenes we’re not actively working portfolios in each of the three businesses,” he added, referring to the company’s main product divisions.
Margins in its aerospace business - its largest - rose to 20.3 percent in the third quarter ended Sept. 30 from 18.8 percent a year earlier.
Honeywell has been able to perform well this year despite a sluggish global economy, mainly due to its focus on controlling costs. In July, the company merged its transportation division with its aerospace business to take advantage of the similarities in the units.
“Looking ahead to 2015, we’re once again planning for a slow growth macro environment, but expect to continue delivering strong earnings growth,” Chief Executive David Cote said in a statement on Friday.
Honeywell said it now expected 2014 sales of $40.3 billion to $40.4 billion, compared with its previous forecast of $40.2 billion to $40.4 billion.
The company also forecast earnings for the year of at least $5.50 per share, up from its previous projection of at least $5.45. It maintained the top end of the forecast range at $5.55 per share.
Net income attributable to Honeywell rose to $1.17 billion in the quarter, or $1.47 per share, from $990 million, or $1.24 per share, a year earlier.
Analysts on average expected earnings of $1.41 per share on revenue of $10.04 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Total revenue increased 4.8 percent to $10.11 billion, it said.
Honeywell shares were up 4.1 percent at $89.96 in midday trading on the New York Stock Exchange. Through Thursday’s close, the stock had dropped 0.4 percent in the past 12 months, compared with a 7 percent rise in the S&P 500 index. (Reporting by Sagarika Jaisinghani in Bangalore, Alwyn Scott and Lewis Krauskopf in New York; editing by Saumyadeb Chakrabarty and G Crosse)