Aftermarket rebound, or 'easy comps'?


PW4000 work is helping drive Pratt & Whitney's aftermarket growth. (Photo: UTC)

With earnings season ramping up, early returns point to a continued rebound in the aftermarket. 

UTC unit Pratt & Whitney's first quarter large commercial spares sales were up 10% year-over-year, with particular strength in the PW4000 and V2500 families. Spares orders were up about 11%, which is solid considering the first quarter--which is when annual price increases kick in--is typically the slowest period for orders. 

Even more encouraging, reports UTC CFO Greg Hayes, is an increase in materials per shop visit--an indication that operators are spending on more than just the must-do items.

The news was similarly encouraging at UTC Aerospace Systems: 8-9% increases in aftermarket sales as well as spares and provisioning orders.

Such positive data aligns with what Canaccord Genuity reports is an optimistic MRO community at the 2014 quarter pole. But the good news comes with a cautionary note: the 2013 aftermarket improved steadily as the year went on, raising the bar for the year-on quarters. 

So while growth may continue, the year-over-year "comps" may not seem so stellar. That's one reason that Pratt & Whitney, despite the impressive opening quarter, is projecting full-year spares growth in the 4-6% range--known in finance-speak as the "mid-single digits."

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