Honeywell to Decide on Spinoff by the Fall -- WSJ

By Thomas Gryta Features Dow Jones Newswires

Honeywell International Inc. will decide whether to break off its aerospace division by the fall, the company said Tuesday, and it continues to work with advisers after activist Third Point LLC made a public push last month for a spinoff.

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The division, Honeywell's largest, supplies parts for Airbus SE and Boeing Co. jets along with engines for aircraft made by Bombardier Inc., and Textron Inc. and others. In a letter to investors a month ago, Daniel Loeb's Third Point wrote that the business has lagged behind its peers and separating it "would result in a sustained increase in shareholder value in excess of $20 billion."

At a presentation at the Electrical Products Group conference in Florida, Honeywell said it is "modeling various scenarios" as part of the review. Separately, it highlighted that Honeywell shares have outperformed rivals and the aerospace division is positioned for "sustainable growth" and margin expansion.

Darius Adamczyk, Honeywell's chief executive, called the prospect of a spinoff "an intriguing concept" at the conference, adding "I'm personally looking at the entire portfolio."

The Third Point letter came just a few weeks after Honeywell switched leaders. Mr. Adamczyk took over as Honeywell's CEO, succeeding longtime leader David Cote, who remains the company's chairman.

Mr. Adamczyk said there would be one of three responses to the Third Point push: Do nothing, pursue a separation of the division, or acknowledge it as a good idea but pursue something different.

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He added that he would be conducting a full review of Honeywell's operations as he ramps up as CEO, even without the push from Third Point, noting that some buying and selling is likely over the next two to three years.

"I'm pretty confident in saying that we are going to do some portfolio work," Mr. Adamczyk said. "I'm not going to pre-announce what we are going to do."

Before making major moves, either buying or selling businesses, Honeywell is awaiting the outcome of any potential U.S. tax reform, something that could make it easier to use overseas-based cash.

The company, which has a market value of roughly $100 billion, makes everything from aircraft landing gears to home thermostats. The aerospace business accounts for about 38% of its $39.3 billion in annual sales.

Honeywell shares recently were up 0.1% to $131.85. The stock has gained nearly 14% so far this year.

Write to Thomas Gryta at thomas.gryta@wsj.com

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

May 24, 2017 02:47 ET (06:47 GMT)