Amazon is boosting Honeywell's business 'at the right time,' Honeywell CEO says

  • Honeywell Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk tells CNBC's Jim Cramer about his company's latest brushes with tech and trade.
  • Adamczyk also expands on his thinking about Honeywell's impending three-way split.

With the rise of e-commerce in full swing, Honeywell's 2016 acquisition of the automaton-focused Intelligrated is paying off in droves, Honeywell International Chairman and CEO Darius Adamczyk told CNBC on Wednesday.

In an exclusive interview with "Mad Money" host Jim Cramer, Adamczyk, who took the helm of the sprawling industrial last year, touted Intelligrated's warehouse automation segment, which serves high-profile clients including Amazon.

"It's been just a terrific growth business. I mean, when you think about 50-, 100-percent booking rate increases, top-line growth of 20 percent plus, I think it's very, very exciting," the CEO said. "This is a nice pickup for us because it's coming at the right time."

While Honeywell's organic growth has remained intact, questions have been swirling about the timing of Adamczyk's widely publicized plan to split Honeywell into three parts.

The uncertainty has caused some gyration in Honeywell's stock year to date, but thanks in part to Intelligrated's fast-growing business, Honeywell's quarterly results have been steadily improving.

"Warehouse automation is huge, driven by e-commerce," Adamczyk, formerly COO of Honeywell, said Wednesday. "It's a trend that I believe is going to continue not just in North America, but throughout the world, and it was a great pickup for us."

Adamczyk also said that after reviewing Honeywell's portfolio at the start of his tenure, one of his goals became "to simplify the company," reducing its end markets and making the industrial more focused — but for this CEO, that didn't mean shedding Honeywell's worst-performing businesses.

Instead, the first businesses to go will be two that Adamczyk labeled "terrific franchises:" Garrett Motion Inc., Honeywell's transportation systems segment, and Resideo Technologies Inc., a connected-home business, both slated for spin-offs by the end of 2018.

"That end-all litmus test for me is am I, as a Honeywell CEO, likely to put money, capital, to work in these two businesses?" Adamczyk said. "And, frankly, there are some other businesses that would be ahead of [these], which, obviously, raised them to the top of 'Maybe they don't belong in a portfolio.'"

And, by the CEO's account, he's making the right decision: "We'll have gone from eight end markets to six and all of them are extremely appealing from an investment perspective," he told Cramer.

Another point of pain for industrial conglomerates in 2018 has been concern around the United States' relationships with its trading partners, particularly China. According to Adamczyk, Honeywell's prepared for a trade war, too.

"Tariffs are not a big mover for us," the CEO said. "One of the things that we pride ourselves on is that we have very much a local-for-local strategy, so most of our manufacturing [and] innovation, for example, for China, takes place in China."

He added that that makes any tariff-related impact "relatively modest" for the $40 billion Honeywell, which competes in some areas with aerospace giant Boeing, the company behind one of the hardest-hit China-tied stocks.

"Obviously, we plan for the worst and hope for the best," Adamczyk said. "I remain optimistic that things will get resolved because I believe the world's No. 1 and No. 2 economy will come together and arrive in agreement. But where it will impact us, we have plans in place around supply chain, around pricing, around movement of some of our goods – all those things are already in place and we're ready."

Shares of Honeywell climbed 1.35 percent on Wednesday, settling at $161.79.

Watch Darius Adamczyk's full interview here:

Disclosure: Cramer's charitable trust owns shares of Honeywell and Amazon.

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