(Adds details from CFO interview, analyst comment)
By Alwyn Scott
April 26 (Reuters) - United Technologies Corp, the maker of Otis elevators, Pratt & Whitney aircraft engines and Carrier air conditioners, beat analysts' expectations with a 17.8 percent rise in first-quarter profit, helped by higher sales in all four of its business units.
The results showed a "solid quarter" for the company, "which should continue to support the stock at current levels," Peter Arment, an analyst at Baird Equity Research, wrote in a note.
United Tech shares were up 0.7 percent at $117.70 in premarket trading.
The company on Wednesday reported 30 percent growth of new orders in Europe, a sign of strengthening economic conditions, Chief Financial Officer Akhil Johri said in an interview.
But China remained a tough environment, with orders falling 10 percent in dollar terms, but were up 1 percent in volume terms, he said, noting that United Tech is looking to buy local elevator makers in China as the sector consolidates.
Net income attributable to common shareholders rose to $1.39 billion in the first quarter ended March 31, from $1.18 billion a year earlier. The company affirmed its earnings forecast for the full year of $6.30 to $6.60 a share.
Earnings per share attributable to common shareholders rose to $1.73 from $1.42, including a one-time gain of 25 cents.
Excluding the gain, earnings rose to $1.48 a share, compared with the consensus analyst estimate of $1.39 a share, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Net sales increased 3.4 percent to $13.82 billion. (Reporting by Alwyn Scott in New York and Rachit Vats in Bengaluru; Editing by Shounak Dasgupta and Jeffrey Benkoe)