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United Technologies boosted by weak dollar

United Technologies Corp. said Thursday its first-quarter earnings rose 26 percent as the weak dollar boosted profits throughout the business.
/ Source: The Associated Press

United Technologies Corp., which makes Otis elevators, Sikorsky helicopters and Carrier air conditioners, said Thursday its first-quarter earnings rose 26 percent as the weak dollar boosted profits throughout the business.

The Hartford-based industrial conglomerate earned $1 billion, or $1.03 per share, in the quarter, up from $819 million, or 82 cents per share a year earlier. Analysts expected $1.01 per share, according to a Thomson Financial poll.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $13.7 billion from $12.3 billion a year earlier and was ahead of Wall Street’s estimate for $13.4 billion.

Chief Executive Louis Chenevert says he is “confident” with the company’s 2008 financial targets.

Chenevert reiterated United Technologies’ 2008 profit forecast of $4.65 to $4.85 per share. Analysts expect earnings of $4.86 per share. Revenue is expected to grow to $59 billion, he said.

The company’s Fire and Security division, which makes and installs alarms, video surveillance systems and fire detection and fire fighting products, posted the biggest gains in revenue and profit. Revenue for the quarter was nearly $1.6 billion, up by more than 28 percent, and profit was $115 million, up by more than one-third.

The fire and security business is the most recent among United Technologies’ business, which was established in 2003 with the acquisition of Chubb and expanded two years later with the acquisition of Kidde.

The conglomerate is seeking to expand the segment with a takeover bid, announced last month, of North Canton, Ohio-based Diebold Inc., a manufacturer of ATM’s and voting machines.