Honeywell International (HON) revealed surging fourth-quarter earnings that exceeded expectations on Friday as the diversified manufacturer capitalized on modest revenue growth and the absence of year-earlier pension expenses. 

The maker of aerospace and safety products said it earned $947 million, or $1.19 a share, last quarter, compared with a profit of $251 million, or 32 cents a share, a year earlier.

Excluding one-time items like the pension charges, it earned $1.24 a share, up from $1.10 the year before and above the Street’s view of $1.21.

Revenue increased 8.4% to $10.39 billion, compared with consensus calls from analysts for $10.19 billion. Organic sales increased 5% and Honeywell ended the year with a backlog of $15.5 billion worth of orders.

"Honeywell had a very strong fourth quarter, capping off a terrific year across the board with record sales, margins, and earnings," Honeywell CEO Dave Cote said in a statement that acknowledged a “continued slow-growth environment.”

Honeywell said aerospace sales increased 3% last quarter to $3.1 billion as international strength and commercial sales offset slower federal government spending.

Automation and control solutions posted a 10% jump in sales to $4.58 billion thanks in part to acquisitions. The company also enjoyed a 12% rise in performance materials and technologies revenue to $1.73 billion.

Looking ahead, Honeywell reaffirmed its 2014 projections for EPS to rise between 8% and 12% to $5.35 to $5.55. Revenue is seen increasing 3% to 4%, translating to a range of $40.3 billion to $40.7 billion. Analysts had been modeling for somewhat stronger 2014 EPS of $5.54 on revenue of $40.85 billion.

“While we think it's prudent to remain cautious on the global economy at this time, we're increasingly confident in our 2014 outlook based on the momentum from the fourth quarter. And, the benefits from smart gain deployment actions position the company for strong earnings growth and outperformance over the next 5 years,” Cote said.

Shares of Morristown, N.J.-based Honeywell advanced 1% to $90.70 in premarket trading Friday morning, putting them on track to extend their 12-month rally of 32%.

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