Honeywell lowers 2009 outlook on fears of longer recession

24 April 2009 17:23  [Source: ICIS news]

HOUSTON (ICIS news)--Honeywell lowered its outlook for 2009 due to indications that the global recession would last longer than it had previously anticipated, the US diversified technology firm said on Friday.

The company now forecasts yearly earnings of $2.85-3.20/share, down 35 cents from projections made last December.

“It pains me significantly to do this,” said CEO Dave Cote on a conference call. “I am embarrassed over the EPS outlook reduction, and it is not going to happen again.

“While the times are unprecedented, we’re disappointed in ourselves for not being even more conservative [with the previous outlook],” he added. “We’re adjusting with the assumption that the Q1 market reductions continue for the rest of the year.”

Honeywell’s specialty materials and chemicals segment recorded a 53% decline in first-quarter profit to $125m (€95m) as sales fell 25% on lower volumes and price declines.

Honeywell said the end markets of commercial aerospace and transportation were much tougher than anticipated in December, and any earnings improvement for the duration of 2009 would come almost exclusively from cost-cutting actions and not market improvement.

“We’re counting on no market changes, other than an inventory correction in autos that should be done where the production will finally start to match the anaemic sales level,” Cote said.

However, the decline in auto production could be offset by previous cost-cutting measures as well as a slight pickup in construction due to the US stimulus bill, he added.

While the overall picture remains gloomy, Cote said the company had noticed economic stabilisation occurring at low levels.

“We don’t see it getting worse than the first quarter,” he said. “The rate of decline is clearly stabilising.”

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By: Ben DuBose
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