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United Technologies posts 1Q profit decline on restructuring, divestitures, boosts '14 outlook

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HARTFORD, Connecticut — United Technologies Corp. reported Tuesday its first-quarter profit dropped 4 percent as slightly higher revenue was offset by restructuring costs, asset sales and currency exchange rates.

However, the Hartford, Connecticut, maker of elevators, helicopters and jet engines beat Wall Street expectations. Net income was $1.21 billion, or $1.32 per share, for the three months ended March 31 on revenue of $14.75 billion. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected earnings per share of $1.27 on revenue of $14.69 billion.

Overall operating profit rose 9 percent during the quarter, adjusted for one-time items and restructuring costs, and United Technologies increased the low end of its 2014 per-share profit guidance to between $6.65 and $6.85 from a range of $6.55 to $6.85. Analysts expect $6.83 per share, on average

The company cited a strong sales outlook and continued cost-cutting for the guidance increase and said it will spent $375 million on restructuring costs this year, up from a previous estimate of $300 million.

Chief Financial Officer Greg Hayes cautioned analysts on a conference call that comparisons between reporting periods this year with 2013 will "get tougher," though order trends and markets are in line with expectations.

"Of course, as we've seen with recent developments in Ukraine, things can change quickly," he said.

A 1 percent rise in orders at the heating and cooling manufacturing segment was partially offset by a decline in its transport refrigeration business, United Technologies said.

Sales in United Technologies' defense business were down 2 percent, but was more than offset by strong growth in commercial airline equipment manufacturing and repairs and maintenance, Hayes said.

Edward Jones analyst Christian Mayes said United Technologies is benefiting from strong sales but the bottom line was weighed down by restructuring costs.

"It kind of skews the results to say profit was down," he said.

Shares of United Technologies added 89 cents to close at $119.19.

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