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Net income rose 22% at



in the first quarter, as a 12% rise in sales was goosed by widening aerospace and specialty-materials margins.

The company earned $436 million, or 52 cents a share, in the quarter compared with $358 million, or 42 cents a share, a year ago. Sales were $7.24 billion, up from $6.45 billion. Analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call were forecasting earnings of 49 cents a share on sales of $7.18 billion in the latest period.

Among segments, sales rose 5% in Honeywell's aerospace unit, while segment margins rose to 16.7% from 15.1% a year ago. The company cited volume growth and savings related to a reorganization.

In specialty materials, sales surged 44%, while margins roughly doubled to 14.1%. The margin improvement reflected the "positive net impact of acquisitions and divestitures and price increases," which more than offset higher raw material costs, the company said.

"Honeywell is off to a terrific start in what we expect to be another great year," Honeywell said. "The quarter's highlights include strong organic growth, margin expansion and better than expected earnings. Our first-quarter performance builds on the company's growing track record of strong operational execution and financial results. Honeywell's businesses are well positioned in attractive industries, and we remain confident in our outlook for 25 to 30% earnings growth in 2006."