United Technologies Corp. has announced it will split into three companies — and that could mean new opportunities for Palm Beach County.
The Farmington, Conn.-based company’s plans will turn its Otis elevator and Carrier air-conditioning businesses into two separate entities. The third company, under the UTC umbrella, will be the newly named Collins Aerospace and Pratt & Whitney, according to the company’s news release Monday.
“Our decision to separate United Technologies is a pivotal moment in our history and will best position each independent company to drive sustained growth, lead its industry in innovation and customer focus, and maximize value creation,” said UTC chairman and CEO Gregory Hayes, in a news release Monday.
UTC has thousands of employees in Palm Beach County who work for Pratt & Whitney, UTC Climate Control, and Rockwell Collins.
UTC said it recently completed its $23 billion Rockwell Collins acquisition. The company received regulatory approval from China for the acquisition in November; both UTC and Iowa-based Rockwell have operations in China.
This latest acquisition could potentially bring more operations and workers to the county, and even a headquarters operation someday, said Kelly Smallridge, president of the Business Development Board of Palm Beach County, which leads economic development efforts.
Rockwell Collins recently leased 16,000 square feet of space for its headquarters at 777 S. Flagler Drive in downtown West Palm Beach, Smallridge said.
The office is a “small executive leadership office” for what is now Collins Aerospace, according to Collins Aerospace spokeswoman Jessica Napoli.
While Smallridge said the combined aerospace companies could result in some Collins operations and employees moving to the Pratt campus near Jupiter, Napoli said there are “no plans at this time.”
Smallridge said Palm Beach County “has long been a hub for aerospace companies since Pratt located off the Beeline Highway in the 1960s on 7,000 acres and 1 million square feet.” She said there are about 1,300 aviation/aerospace and engineering companies in the county that employ 20,000 people with the average annual salary of $90,000.
Ultimately, she would like to see UTC establish its headquarters in the county. “I have been pitching UTC for 15 years to move their headquarters here, but no
response on that yet, “ Smallridge said.
She said the Business Development Board will focus on “conversations with the restructuring team to ensure that Palm Beach County is well-positioned for any future growth.”
In April, UTC opened its $115 million UTC Center for Intelligent Buildings in Palm Beach Gardens. The center, which showcases the best of these new technologies UTC employs around the world, is expected to house 500 employees within the next three years.
The center is part of UTC Climate, Controls & Security, which is being renamed “Carrier” as it is spun off into an independent company.
UTC and its companies have been the recipient of millions of dollars in incentives from state and local governments, based on confirmed job creation.
In Tuesday trading on the New York Stock Exchange, UTC’s stock closed at $122.68, down $5.30 or 4.14 percent.