Boosted by aerospace sales, United Technologies beats estimates

United Technologies Corp. reported profit that beat analysts’ first-quarter earnings estimates as sales in the aerospace unit offset the effects of a strong dollar.

In his first full quarter as chief executive officer, Gregory Hayes began refining the company’s focus by announcing plans to dispose of the Sikorsky helicopter unit. Hayes, who took over in November after the abrupt resignation of Louis Chenevert, is also reviewing costs at the corporate level as he seeks to counter currency challenges that affect about two- thirds of the company’s revenue from products including Pratt & Whitney jet engines, Otis elevators and Carrier air conditioners.

Earnings from continuing operations were $1.58 a share in the first quarter, the Hartford, Connecticut-based company said in a statement. Analysts projected that United Technologies would post a profit on that basis of $1.46 a share, according to an average of 17 estimates compiled by Bloomberg.

“We had a good start to the year, despite headwinds from a stronger U.S. dollar,” Hayes said in the statement.

Sales of $14.5 billion missed analysts’ average estimate of $14.9 billion.

United Technologies reiterated its 2015 earnings forecast of $6.85 to $7.05 a share.

The stock gained 1.3 percent this year through Monday, compared with a 2 percent increase in the Standard & Poor’s 500 Index.

The aerospace and building systems company employs about 300 at its UTC Aerospace Systems headquarters in Charlotte, and about 200 in Monroe.

Observer reporter Katherine Peralta contributed.