United Technologies Profit Better Than Expected

The industrial conglomerate United Technologies Corp. (UTX) reported an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter profits Friday, boosted by strong sales at its Otis elevator (search) and Carrier air conditioning divisions and market share gains.

The company earned $650 million, or $1.29 a share, for the October-December period, compared with $588 million, or $1.16 a share in the year-ago period.

The results beat estimates of $1.27 by analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call and helped lift the company's shares 93 cents to $100.71 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange (search).

Revenue rose 15 percent, to $9.8 billion from $8.58 billion a year earlier.

"These were exceptional results in 2004," said George David, the company's chief executive. He cited "favorable market share trends in many of our markets worldwide."

David confirmed the company's forecast of earnings per share growth of 10-15 percent this year.

Otis had operating profits in the quarter of $410 million, up 9 percent from a year ago, while Carrier had profits of $127 million, up 37 percent from $93 million. Profits were down slightly at aircraft-engine maker Pratt & Whitney (search) and helicopter manufacturer Sikorsky (search).

The company's Chubb security business had sales of $773 million, up 7 percent from a year ago.

For the year, the company earned $2.78 billion, or $5.52 per share, compared with $2.36 billion, or $4.69 per share, for the prior year. Revenues were $37.4 billion, compared with $31 billion in the year-ago period.