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Honeywell International Inc. (HON-N) forecast 6 percent to 12 percent profit growth next year, in line with expectations, with Europe's slowing economy taking a toll on orders for automotive turbochargers and other products.
Still, the maker of products ranging from cockpit electronics to control systems for large buildings said sales would increase by 4 percent to 7 percent on continuing solid demand in the United States and emerging markets, as well as a $15.9 billion US backlog of orders.
"While the U.S. is holding up well, overall European softening is impacting our order trends," said Chief Financial Officer David Anderson.
In Europe, Honeywell is seeing the first signs of a slowdown that it expects to turn into a recession in the first half of 2012 in so-called "short cycle" products ordered shortly before delivery, such as automotive turbochargers and some small building-control systems. That stands in contrast to products like aircraft components, which are ordered well before they ship.
"We're expecting more moderate growth in the short-cycle businesses as a result of the slowing order trends, particularly in Europe," Anderson said.
The Morris Township, New Jersey-based company is one of several big U.S. manufacturers to cite concerns about Europe's spreading debt crisis this week. General Electric Co (GE-N) said on Tuesday that it was planning some job cuts to offset weakening European demand, and Danaher Corp. (DHR-N) raised concerns about "real sluggishness in Europe" on Wednesday.
OUTLOOK MEETS EXPECTATIONS
Honeywell forecast 2012 profit of $4.25 to $4.50 per share, roughly in line with the analysts' average estimate of $4.43, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
The company said it now expected to report a 2011 profit of $4.03 per share, in line with its most recent October forecast of $4.00 to $4.05.
Honeywell expects overall sales to come in between $37.8 billion and $38.9 billion, up 4 percent to 7 percent from 2011. Analysts looked for $38.9 billion.
The company has benefited this year from strong global demand from the aviation sector and continued infrastructure investment in rapidly developing economies in Asia.
At Wednesday's close, Honeywell shares were down just 0.6 percent over the past year, a modestly better performance than the 1.2 percent slide of the Standard & Poor's 500 index and significantly stronger than the 4.3 percent decline of the S&P capital goods industry group.
United Technologies Corp (UTX-N), the world's biggest maker of elevators and air conditioners, plans to lay out its 2012 profit targets to Wall Street later on Thursday.