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Honeywell 1Q profit up 17 pct despite flat sales

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) -- Honeywell International Inc. said Friday that its first-quarter net income rose 17 percent, despite flat sales, and raised its earnings guidance for the year.

The company, which makes products ranging from aircraft systems to automotive parts and chemicals, increased its profit by cutting costs and improving productivity. Honeywell CEO Dave Cote said the improved results came despite still sluggish global economic growth.

Net income attributable to common shareholders came to $966 million, or $1.21 per share, up from $823 million, or $1.04 per share, in the same quarter a year ago.

Revenue was nearly unchanged, at $9.33 billion from $9.31 billion, while costs fell 1.4 percent to $8.07 billion.

Analysts, on average, expected earnings of $1.10 per share on $9.58 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

Aerospace sales edged down 1 percent to $2.95 billion, while automotive and control solutions sales were flat at $3.79 billion. Sales of performance materials and technologies increased 6 percent to $1.62 billion, helped by contributions from an acquisition, while transportation systems sales decreased 4 percent to $954 million.

As a result of the better-than-expected profit, Honeywell boosted the low end of its previous fiscal 2013 profit guidance by 5 cents. The company said it now expects to post a 2013 profit of $4.80 to $4.95 per share, while analysts expect $4.95 per share.

It also slightly reduced its revenue prediction for the year, saying it now expects between $38.8 billion and $39.3 billion in revenue, down from its previous prediction of $39 billion to $39.5 billion. Analysts expect $39.39 billion.

Shares of Morris Township, N.J.-based Honeywell rose $1.43, or 2 percent, to $72.90 in premarket trading.