Thursday, March 26, 2015

United Technologies: Don't Need No Activist Investor

This article was first published by Seeking Alpha on March 18, 2015

By Sarfaraz A. Khan

Generally speaking, well established companies - such as Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) and Procter & Gamble (NYSE:PG) - make significant changes to their businesses when they are forced to do so by ornery investors. However, Greg Hayes, the new head of United Technologies (NYSE:UTX), has been shaking up his Hartford, Connecticut based company, even though he is not facing any serious pressure from shareholders.

Historically, United Technologies has been one of the most profitable conglomerates in the U.S., providing equipment to the commercial aerospace, defense and building industries. The company suffered a major blow in November last year when its former CEO Louis ChĂȘnevert - who was the brains behind the massive $16.3 billion acquisition of Goodrich around five years ago - abruptly retired after remaining at the helm for six years. He was immediately replaced by his long-time CFO Hayes, and this could turn out to be a blessing in disguise.

That's because following ChĂȘnevert's departure, United Technologies started to review its portfolio of businesses in December, including the former CEO's favorite Sikorsky Aircraft unit. Last week, after years of speculation, the company finally confirmed that it is exploring "strategic alternatives" for Sikorsky - the business which makes Black Hawk helicopters for the U.S. military as well as other helicopters.

I believe this is a positive development and shows that Hayes is willing to make the big changes before the company sees any shareholder activism. Although Sikorsky dominates the global military helicopter market, it has been struggling .… read full article at Seeking Alpha