Honeywell International Inc reported stronger-than-expected quarterly earnings, helped by a lower tax bill, cost cutting and increased sales of security systems and turbochargers.

The company, which counts the U.S. military, Boeing Co and Airbus among its biggest customers, has been cutting costs and improving productivity.

Honeywell posted a 13 percent increase in second-quarter net income and said margins increased in most of its businesses, which include products for the aerospace, automobile and energy industries.

The earnings beat was mainly driven by a lower tax rate, which added 6 cents to second-quarter earnings, analysts said. The effective tax rate for the quarter fell to 23.1 percent from 26.0 percent a year earlier.

Honeywell, whose products include cockpit electronics and systems to manage the security of large buildings, reported earnings of $1.28 per share, topping the average analyst estimate by 7 cents, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Also, pension and post-retirement benefit payments fell to $32 million during the quarter from $308 million a year earlier.

The company's operating income margin rose to 14.3 percent from 13.6 percent.

"Tax and pension helped EPS substantially, but the company also continued to fund some additional restructuring, helping overall earnings quality," J.P.Morgan analyst Stephen Tusa wrote on a note to clients.

Honeywell raised the low end of its current-year pro-forma earnings-per-share forecast to $4.85 from $4.80. The top end was unchanged at $4.95.

Second-quarter sales increased 3 percent to $9.69 billion, below analysts' estimate of $9.70 billion.

Honeywell shares were up about 0.4 percent at $83.32 in early trading on the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday.

(Reporting by Bijoy Koyitty in Bangalore; Editing by Maju Samuel and Saumyadeb Chakrabarty)