updated 10/20/2004 11:11:47 AM ET 2004-10-20T15:11:47

Aerospace and high-tech manufacturer Honeywell International Inc. on Wednesday reported an 8 percent increase in third-quarter profits behind double-digit growth in sales for three of the conglomerate's four business divisions.

The company said profits were $372 million, or 43 cents per share, for the three months ending Sept. 30. That compares with $344 million, or 40 cents per share, in the same period a year ago.

The most recent quarter's profits matched the forecast of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Company officials on Wednesday also refined their full-year earnings expectations. Three months ago, they said they expected 2004 earnings to be between $1.60 and $1.70 per share. Chief financial officer Dave Anderson said that figure has been narrowed and now the target appears to be between $1.66 and $1.69. The projection is in line with those of analysts.

"This is another quarter that just feels really good," CEO Dave Cote told analysts on a conference call Wednesday morning.

The most recent quarter marked the third in a row in which the company's profits were higher than the same quarter last year. The upward trend comes after a five-year stretch of shrinking profits.

Sales were $6.4 billion for the quarter, compared with $5.8 billion for the year-ago period.

Honeywell saw sales in its aerospace unit — the biggest of the company's divisions — increase by 11 percent, largely because commercial sales continued to rise as airlines rebounding from the industrywide slump after the Sept. 11 attacks ordered more planes.

Honeywell, which makes products ranging from airplane parts to home thermostats, said its turbo system sales increased 34 percent over last year, fueling a 19 percent sales increase in its transportation services arm.

The company's profits were $17.5 billion, or $1.19 per share, up from $15.6 billion, or $1.07 per share, in the first nine months of 2003.

Sales for the first three quarters were $1 billion, up from $917 million for the first three quarters of 2003.

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