United Technologies post strong earnings gain

/ Source: The Associated Press

United Technologies Corp. reported a nearly 7 percent increase in first-quarter profits Wednesday despite restructuring charges and a nearly $300 million European Union fine for its Otis Elevator division.

Income rose to $819 million from $768 million during the same period last year. Per-share earnings of 82 cents were up from 76 per cents in the first quarter of 2006, beating analysts’ forecasts of 80 cents, according to a Thomson Financial poll.

Revenue in the first quarter increased by 16 percent to $12.3 billion, from $10.6 billion the year before for the diversified manufacturer of jet engines, elevators and securities systems.

“Although we regret the first quarter Otis European Commission matter, we have had an excellent start to 2007,” George David, chairman and chief executive officer, said in a statement.

Otis elevator, a subsidiary of United Technologies, was fined $295 million by European regulators in February on charges of participating in a cartel with other elevator makers for the installation and maintenance of elevators and escalators in Belgium, Germany, Luxembourg and the Netherlands.

The company on Wednesday reported a 7-cent per-share charge for the fine, which was previously announced.

The company reaffirmed its previous guidance for 2007 per-share earnings of between $4.05 to $4.20.

Revenue was up at all United Technologies businesses and nearly doubled at Sikorsky Aircraft, from $512 million in the first quarter of 2006, which reflected a six-week strike, to $1 billion in this year’s first quarter.

United Technologies said in February that it expects revenue for the year to increase to more than $51 billion, a 6.7 increase over revenue of $47.8 billion in 2006.

United Technologies also is the parent company of jet engine manufacturer Pratt and Whitney, aerospace company Hamilton Sundstrand, Sikorsky Aircraft, heating and cooling product division Carrier, and other businesses.