United Technologies Management Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

United Technologies (UTX)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 24, 2012 8:00 am ET


Gregory J. Hayes - Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President

Unknown Executive -


Jeffrey T. Sprague - Vertical Research Partners Inc.

Joseph Nadol - JP Morgan Chase & Co, Research Division

Myles A. Walton - Deutsche Bank AG, Research Division

Cai Von Rumohr - Cowen and Company, LLC, Research Division

Carter Copeland - Barclays Capital, Research Division

Shannon O'Callaghan - Nomura Securities Co. Ltd., Research Division

David E. Strauss - UBS Investment Bank, Research Division

Terry Darling - Goldman Sachs Group Inc., Research Division

Howard A. Rubel - Jefferies & Company, Inc., Research Division

Samuel J. Pearlstein - Wells Fargo Securities, LLC, Research Division

George Shapiro

Douglas S. Harned - Sanford C. Bernstein & Co., LLC., Research Division

Deane M. Dray - Citigroup Inc, Research Division



Good morning, and welcome to the United Technologies First Quarter Conference Call. On the call today are Greg Hayes, Senior Vice President and Chief Financial Officer; and Maria Lee [ph], Director, Investor Relations. This call is being carried live on the Internet and there is a presentation available for download from UTC's website at www.utc.com. Please note the company will speak to results from continuing operations except where otherwise noted. They will also speak to segment results adjusted for restructuring and onetime items as they usually do. The company also reminds listeners that the earnings and cash flow expectation, and any other forward-looking statements provided in this call are subject to risks and uncertainties. UTC's SEC filings, including its 10-Q and 10-K reports, provide details on important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements. [Operator Instructions] Please go ahead, Mr. Hayes.

Gregory J. Hayes

Okay, thank you, Stephanie, and good morning to everyone. You just saw in the press release this morning first quarter earnings per share were up 24% year-over-year to $1.31. That includes $0.21 of gain in excess of restructuring. Excluding these items for both years, earnings per share grew 2% to $1.10, which is a little better than we expected back in March. Keep in mind, these results include $0.13 per share of headwind from higher pension costs, higher E&D and negative FX.

Stronger sales in our U.S. Residential HVAC business towards the end of the quarter drove better-than-expected operating profit at UTC Climate, Controls & Security. On the other hand, while we know the urbanization trend will drive continued long-term growth, as we said in March, our business in China is off to a slow start. Otis new equipment sales in China were down 9% in constant currency in the first quarter.

The ongoing government effort to bring housing prices down has negatively impacted the higher end of the residential sector, which represents about half of Otis's China sales. We've also seen some pricing pressure in China and a temporary impact as a result of the Beijing Metro incident last year. We've addressed the root cause of the incident, and we're confident it's been corrected.

As we all know, the global economy remains uneven. We have seen some encouraging signs of the U.S. over the past few months with an increase in residential construction and an improvement in consumer confidence. However, with continued weakness in Europe and the short-term slowdown in construction activity in China, we'll continue to focus on what we control as we usually do.

In the quarter, we invested $111 million in restructuring and the businesses has continued to find ways to reduce structural costs. As a result, we're taking up our estimate for restructuring for the year to $450 million including the Goodrich-related restructuring actions. That's up $100 million from our expectations in March.

We also continue the process of evaluating or reshaping the UTC portfolio to position the company for long-term sustainable growth. And just as we did through the 2008, 2009 recession, we continued to invest in E&D, spending the incremental $77 million or $0.06 a share in the first quarter over the prior years, as we continue to develop innovative technologies like the GTF and S-97 RAIDER that will give us a sustainable competitive advantage and deliver real value to the customers.

So despite the uneven economic outlook, we remain confident in the full year expectations for earnings per share of $5.30 to $5.50. That's 0% to 4% growth on sales of $61 billion to $62 billion, and that guidance includes the sales impact in net $0.25 EPS dilution from the proposed Goodrich acquisition, which we still expect to close at mid-year.

As you heard from the business unit presidents in March, much of the operating profit growth will come in the back half of the year. As the year progresses, we'll see more normal year-on-year comparisons across our businesses, and we believe that the Chinese government will continue to pull back on some of the tightening measures, which should lead to improvement in the high-end residential construction market in China.

Okay, turning to first quarter results on Slide 2. Total sales were down 2%. Organic sales growth was 1% and in line with our expectations after a strong 9% organic growth in the first quarter of last year. Hamilton Sundstrand led the way this quarter with 10% organic revenue growth on strength in both commercial and military aerospace. Sikorsky sales, on the other hand, were down 15% organically following 15% growth on the first quarter of last year due to the absence of international development aircraft, as well as lower-than-expected shipments at the end of the quarter. Total segment operating profit was down 2% driven by the commercial businesses. The slow start in China and ongoing weakness in the European markets drove Otis's operating profit down 6% on flat sales.

UTC Climate, Controls & Security's operating profit was down 5%. In March you'll recall, we had expected CCS to be down around 10% after 70% growth for the first quarter of last year, but a strong rebound in residential cooling orders at the end of the quarter provided some unexpected upside. Hamilton Sundstrand had another strong quarter with 15% operating profit growth from solid conversion on organic sales growth.

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