United Technologies Corp. rose 5.4% to close at $117.04 Wednesday after the industrial company posted fourth-quarter adjusted earnings of $1.95 a share, smashing estimates of $1.55, as sales in the period jumped 15% and it issued a strong forecast for 2019.
Sales in the quarter were $18 billion, ahead of analysts' forecasts of $16.8 billion. Organic growth in the quarter was 11%.
"2018 was a transformational year for United Technologies," said UTC Chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes in a statement. "We announced our intention to separate into three global, industry-leading companies, and closed the Rockwell Collins acquisition in November. We also delivered strong fourth quarter and full year 2018 results, including the best year of organic sales growth in over a decade, driven by our focus on meeting customer commitments, ongoing innovation, strong execution and cost reduction."
During the quarter commercial aftermarket sales at the company's Pratt & Whitney division rose 11%. Otis new equipment orders were flat organically vs. the year earlier, while equipment orders at Carrier increased 3% organically, United Technologies said.
Looking ahead, United Technologies said it expects its segment profit in 2019 to "grow faster than sales, and free cash flow, excluding separation costs, is expected to grow faster than earnings."
The company said it expects adjusted earnings in 2019 of $7.70 to $8 a share. Analysts forecast earnings of $7.81.
Sales are estimated at $75.5 billion to $77 billion in 2019, including organic sales growth of 3% to 5%. Analysts are calling for sales of $76.6 billion.