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February 6, 2013

News Briefs February 6, 2013

United Technologies approves buyback of 60 million shares

United Technologies may buy back up to 60 million of its shares, replacing an approximately $4.3 billion stock buyback program which began almost three years ago and is nearly spent.

The industrial conglomerate said Feb. 4 that the new program’s value is $5.4 billion at today’s stock prices. It expects its repurchases to total about $1 billion this year, unchanged from a previous estimate.

Companies buy back stock in an effort to reward shareholders, as reducing the number of stock outstanding can lift earnings per share.

Last month the Hartford, Conn., company reported a fourth-quarter profit, excluding one-time items, met Wall Street’s expectations. Revenue fell short of analysts’ estimates. AP

Eaton fourth quarter net income drops by half on charges

Diversified manufacturer Eaton Corp. said Feb. 5 its fourth-quarter net income fell by half, pulled down by hefty acquisition expenses and lower demand from its existing customers.

The profit fell short of Wall Street expenses and the Cleveland-based company issued weak guidance for the current quarter and full year.

Eaton earned $179 million, or 46 cents per share, for the October -December period, down from $362 million, or $1.07 per share, a year earlier. Excluding charges related to the company’s acquisition of Cooper Industries plc, which closed during the recent quarter, the company said it posted an adjusted profit of 82 cents per share.

Revenue rose 7 percent to $4.33 billion from $4 billion, as contributions from Cooper offset lower demand from existing customers.

Analysts, on average, expected a profit of 92 cents per share on $4.18 billion in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company said that weaker-than-expected demand, which it expects to continue into 2013, resulted in restructuring moves that reduced the recent quarter’s profit by an additional 14 cents per share.

The company’s electrical and aerospace businesses both posted small sales increases, but were offset by a 26 percent drop in sales at the company’s truck business and an 8 percent decline in automotive sales.

Cooper, which the company owned for the month of December, contributed $470 million in sales.

For the full year 2012, Eaton earned $1.22 billion, or $3.46 per share, up from $1.35 billion, or $3.93 per share, in 2011. Revenue rose to $16.31 billion from $16.05 billion.

Eaton projected a first-quarter operating profit, which excludes acquisition related costs, to total between 70 cents and 80 cents per share. The guidance includes an inventory-related charge of 6 cents per share. Analysts expect earnings of 89 cents per share.

For the full year, the company projected operating earnings of between $4.05 and $4.45 per share, while analysts expect $4.45 per share. AP

TransDigm fiscal first quarter profit falls on expenses

Aircraft part maker TransDigm Group Inc. said Feb. 4 that its fiscal first-quarter profit dropped 41 percent, pulled down by a steep jump in dividend payments.

For the quarter ended Dec. 29, the Cleveland-based company earned $36 million, or 66 cents per share, down from $61.8 million, or $1.15 per share, in the same quarter last year.

The recent quarter’s results included 70 cents per share in dividend equivalent payments, compared with 6 cents per share a year ago. The recent quarter also included acquisition-related and non-cash compensation costs of 15 cents per share.

Excluding those items, the company earned an adjusted $1.51 per share for the recent quarter.

Revenue rose 22 percent to $430.4 million from $352.5 million, helped by contributions from the company’s recent acquisitions of Harco, AmSafe and Aero-Instruments. Excluding those companies, TransDigm said its sales rose slightly.

The results fell just short of Wall Street predictions. Analysts, on average, expected a profit of $1.53 per share on $426.6 million in revenue, according to FactSet.

The company narrowed its full-year adjusted profit guidance to take into account a more favorable tax outlook, but cautioned that worldwide economic and aerospace market conditions remain uncertain.

TransDigm narrowed its full-year profit prediction to a range of $6.74 to $6.98 per share from its previous range of $6.54 to $6.98 per share. It also narrowed its sales guidance to between $1.82 billion and $1.88 billion from its previous $1.8 billion to $1.9 billion.

Analysts expect earnings of $7 per share on $1.92 billion in revenue. AP

Japan accuses China of using weapons radar on ship

Japan is accusing Chinese navy vessels of locking a weapons-targeting radar on a Japanese destroyer and helicopter amid escalating territorial disputes.

Japanese Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said Feb. 5 that Chinese navy vessels directed the radar in two incidents last month, on Jan. 19 and Jan. 30. He said it happened in the East China Sea, suggesting it was near disputed islands controlled by Japan and also claimed by China but not giving an exact location.

Onodera said it was abnormal and the action could have led to a dangerous situation. Shots were not fired on either occasion.

Chinese maritime surveillance vessels have repeatedly infiltrated Japanese-claimed waters around the islands since last September when Japan’s government nationalized some of the islands. The purchase also triggered violent protests across China. AP

Remains ID’d of fighter pilot killed in Vietnam

The remains of a Vietnam War naval fighter pilot who was shot down in 1966 have been identified, allowing the military to remove him from its list of servicemen missing in action.

The Sacramento Bee reports that 26-year-old Richard Laws was presumed dead after his plane was shot down in North Vietnam.

But because DNA typing technology was not available until recent years, the remains recovered from the crash site could not be confirmed as those of Laws.

The West Sacramento, Calif., native’s family will now gather May 10 at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md. for a funeral to be held 47 years after Laws’ death.

His widow Karen Laws Engelke, who has travelled to the crash site, said the upcoming services are important to the family. AP

N.M. governor pushes for exemptions for military pensions

Gov. Susana Martinez is urging New Mexico lawmakers to pass legislation that will provide a 25 percent exemption on military pensions beginning in 2014, phasing into a 100 percent exemption by 2017.

A similar proposal last year didn’t make it out of the state Legislature.

Martinez made the latest request Feb. 4 while visiting the Albuquerque Veterans’ Memorial.

Military retirees currently living in New Mexico are fully taxed on their pension income.

The governor’s office says 25 other states currently offer some sort of military retiree pension income tax exemption.

Martinez says retirees who start second careers or businesses using highly technical skills obtained in the military often look past New Mexico when they return to civilian life.

She says demand is increasing for veterans trained in aviation, technology and engineering. AP

Six U.S. veterans get French Legion of Honor

Six U.S. World War II veterans have been honored with France’s highest military award, the Legion of Honor.

The Charlotte Observer reported that six veterans and the family of a seventh man were honored Feb. 4 in Charlotte, N.C.

France’s consul general to the Southeast United States, Denis Barbet, told the soldiers that their heroism embodies a French-American friendship that dates back to the American Revolution.

Those honored include Clyde Polk, Elbert Davis, Dewitt Wells, David Gordon, George Pulakos and John Harmon.

The family of Frank Pruitt received his award. Pruitt died recently.

The Legion of Honor was created two centuries ago by Napoleon Bonaparte. AP




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