Honeywell 4Q profit up, sells auto products unit

Associated Press Modified: January 28, 2011 at 8:42 am •  Published: January 28, 2011

MORRIS TOWNSHIP, N.J. (AP) — Honeywell International Inc. said Friday its fourth-quarter profit more than doubled, raised its guidance for 2011 and agreed to sell its division that makes Fram oil filters and Prestone antifreeze for about $950 million.

The earnings improvement stemmed mainly from accounting adjustments, but the technology and manufacturing company cited improved market conditions as it raised its financial guidance.

Honeywell is selling its automotive products business which also makes Autolite spark plugs and Holts car care products to Rank Group, a private investment company based in New Zealand.

The division, based in Danbury, Conn., has more than 2,000 employees and revenue of about $1 billion in 2010. The deal is expected to close in the third quarter.

Chairman and CEO Dave Cote said in a statement that while it is "a good business, it doesn't fit with our portfolio of differentiated, global technologies."

Honeywell shares rose 33 cents to $56.25 in morning trading Friday.

The company, based in Morris Township, N.J., reported net income rose to $369 million, or 47 cents per share, in the last three months of 2010 from $163 million, or 20 cents per share, a year ago.

Excluding a hefty accounting adjustment related to pensions, earnings were 87 cents per share. That beat 86 cents per share expected by analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue rose 12 percent to $9.04 billion from $8.07 billion a year ago and handily beat the $8.84 billion analysts expected.

Cote said market conditions improved during the fourth quarter and full year, with investments contributing to growth, along with new customers and new products.

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