United Technologies pays down debt, makes small purchases as it seeks large acquisition

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HARTFORD, Connecticut — The chief financial officer of United Technologies Corp. says the aerospace giant is positioning itself for another large acquisition.

CFO Greg Hayes said at an analysts' conference Thursday that the Hartford, Connecticut, manufacturer of jet engines, elevators and helicopters is spending less than $1 billion in small acquisitions this year.

He says the strategy is to "keep our powder dry" as the conglomerate seeks a large purchase. It's also paid down through the end of 2014 $10 billion of $18 billion in debt for flexibility "to go off and do a bigger deal again."

Hayes said United Technologies' $18.4 billion purchase of aerospace components manufacturer Goodrich Corp. in 2012 is paying off, with 8 percent organic growth in the commercial aerospace business.

Share buybacks next year will be close to $2 billion, up from $1.5 billion in 2014.

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