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Textron

(TXT) - Get Textron Inc. Report

, the maker of Bell helicopters and Cessna airplanes, raised its profit forecast for 2006 and predicted solid demand for the coming years.

The company expects this year's earnings from continuing operations to be $5.25 to $5.35 share, with fourth-quarter income between $1.35 and $1.45. On average, analysts surveyed by Thomson Financial are anticipating a bottom line of $5.27 for the year and $1.52 in the fourth quarter.

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Textron said Thursday that it remains on track to deliver full-year manufacturing cash flow from continuing operations of about $1 billion and free cash flow of $550 million to $600 million.

"Strong end-market demand through the rest of the decade, coupled with the benefits of our transformation strategy and the power of our networked multiindustry model, position us to generate significant growth in earnings, cash flow and shareholder value," Textron said.

Along with the outlook, Textron reported third-quarter earnings from continuing operations of $1.36 a share, up from $1.07 last year. Including discontinued operations, Textron earned $1.32 in the latest quarter.

Revenue in the third quarter was $2.8 billion, up 18% from last year. Analysts were looking for a profit of $1.24 and sales of about $2.7 billion.