United Technologies Corp. (UTX) - Get Report said on Tuesday that it topped analyst expectations for first-quarter earnings and raised its outlook for top and bottom line results for 2018, noting strong sales at its Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace units.

The company earned $1.62 a share or $1.30 billion in the first quarter, compared to $1.73 a share, or $1.39 billion a year ago. Analysts polled by FactSet Research had expected the company to earn $1.51 a share.

"Based on a strong first quarter performance and solid fundamentals at each of our businesses, we are raising our 2018 sales outlook to a range of $63 to $64.5 billion and raising our adjusted EPS outlook range to $6.95 to $7.15," the company said in a press release.

First quarter sales at United Technologies rose to $15.24 billion, from $13.82 billion a year ago.

"At Pratt & Whitney, organic sales were up 9%. We saw a robust military sales and the Pratt engine business was up in the quarter. Additionally, our large install base of engines generated strong aftermarket sales. We continue to grow our GTF engine order book most recently highlighted by JetBlue's announcement that they have selected the GTF to power an additional 45 A320 neo-family aircraft," Greg Hayes, the company's CEO said on a Tuesday morning conference call.

In the quarter, commercial aftermarket sales rose 18% at Pratt & Whitney and 16% at UTC Aerospace Systems. Otis new equipment orders fell 4% 4 percent organically versus the year ago while equipment orders at UTC Climate, Controls & Security rose 10% organically.

Activist investor Bill Ackman is undoubtedly watching the results. He's reportedly been building a UTX stake coming off three years of losses and a few high-profile unsuccessful campaigns at Herbalife (HLF) and Automatic Data Processing (ADP) and a losing $4 billion bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals International Inc. (VRX).

United Technologies Corp. (UTX) CEO Greg Hayes recently suggested that the company might be worth more broken up than in one piece and if he wants to avoid a spat with newly minted shareholder Ackman, history suggests the executive should follow up on his remarks.

There is serious possibility that Ackman could push to break up United Technologies if Hayes doesn't take action on his own first. At the very least he could pressure privately to expedite any break-up plans the company might take. Ackman is just coming off an unsuccessful director-election battle at ADP. He may want to launch another one in a redemption effort.

Hayes said the company's aerospace business, which consists of two units-Pratt & Whitney and UTC Aerospace Systems-could be worth between $45 billion and $50 billion.

Hayes reckoned the Otis elevator company could be valued between $12 billion and $13 billion and that the company's Climate Control business, which includes Carrier air conditioners, could fetch $17 billion to $18 billion.

Those figures add up to a breakup value of between $74 billion and $81 billion for the Farmington, Conn., company, which was first formed in 1934 as United Aircraft Corp.