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UPDATE 1-Honeywell profit drops 13% as pandemic hits aerospace sales

(Adds details on full-year outlook, background)

Jan 29 (Reuters) - Honeywell International Inc on Friday reported a 13% fall in quarterly profit as the coronavirus crisis hurt sales in its main aerospace business, which makes parts for Boeing and Airbus planes.

Still, the company forecast a rise in 2021 sales, likely expecting to benefit from deliveries of Boeing’s 737 MAX jet, which has been cleared to fly after a 20-month ban.

Boeing will mainly ship the 737 MAX jets this year from its stored inventory of about 450 planes, while slowly ramping up production of the jet as air travel picks up with the roll-out of coronavirus vaccines.

Honeywell’s aviation unit is also seeing improved demand for spares for business jets, as wealthy travelers look to avoid commercial flights during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The company forecast 2021 sales between $33.4 billion and $34.4 billion, up 2% to 5% compared with 2020, though the midpoint came in slightly below analysts’ expectation of $33.95 billion.

Net income attributable to Honeywell fell to $1.36 billion, or $1.91 per share, in the fourth quarter ended Dec. 31, from $1.56 billion, or $2.16 per share, a year earlier.

Net sales fell 6% to $8.90 billion in the quarter. (Reporting by Ankit Ajmera in Bengaluru; Editing by Devika Syamnath)

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