Going Down — Fewer Elevators, Fewer Profits

As the construction industry suffers, so do UTC profits

Budgets are tight all over and builders are cutting back, which means less need for elevators and  heavy-duty heating and cooling systems.

That, in turn, means bad times for Hartford-based United Technologies Corp. Profits for the first-quarter fell 28 percent because, as office and residential construction drop, so have the orders. Revenue slid to $12.2 billion from $14 billion.

Business was down at all units except its Sikorsky aircraft unit, which is getting a boost in military orders as the Obama administration moves more troops into Afghanistan. Operating profit jumped to $116 million from $82 million.

The company said sales at Otis elevators and Carrier heating, ventilating and equipment, have hurt UTC, as has the strength of the dollar.

Lags in residential and office construction, and a decline in transportation using refrigeration, has hurt Carrier, where operating profit plunged to $22 million from $248 million.

A slowdown of office construction in China has hurt Otis, where profit fell to $506 million from $580 million.

Pratt & Whitney could be hurt by a Pentagon proposal to halt production of the F-22 fighter jet after the 187 planes already planned.

Chief Executive Louis Chenevert has said canceling the F-22 could lead to the loss of 2,000 to 3,000 jobs in Connecticut.

The unit manufactures engines for the Lockheed Martin-built jets that were launched in the 1980s.

The airline industry woes are hurting Pratt & Whitney's commercial engine production, and Pratt & Whitney Canada, which makes engines for corporate jets, has been hurt as companies slash orders for jets.

Last month, the company last month announced thousands of job cuts in its administrative and sales departments because of weak demand in construction and commercial aerospace.

Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of 78 cents per share. Analyst estimates typically exclude one-time items. 

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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