What a difference a year makes–and then not so much when it comes to Treasury & Risk's overall winner in the annual Alexander Hamilton Awards for sustained excellence across a broad spectrum of treasury activities. For the second year in a row top honors go to the Morristown, N.J.-based maker of aerospace, automation and control, specialty materials and transportation products and solutions. At the heart of Honeywell's success is the transformation of the finance operation through one common set of global treasury processes and its deep involvement with the business units. Last year Honeywell garnered two gold awards for its cash optimization and automation projects. This year the judges were impressed with its growing global outlook, its ability to integrate new acquisitions and to establish integrity and compliance programs throughout the organization. Its cash management in Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) takes gold in that category, where its second entry highlights its treasury management activities in India. Honeywell also wins the gold for corporate governance and the bronze award in financial risk management. The numbers were part of the story last year–record sales, record income, record cash flow, one that went from $1.6 billion in 2003 to $3.1 billion in 2007–as well as its 40% increase in share price. This year, as the financial crisis has shaken markets worldwide and swept into every corner of the economy, shares have taken a nosedive, including Honeywell's, off about 50% from its high for the year. In the third quarter, however, the company continued to report strong growth with a 6% increase in sales to $9.3 billion over the same period last year, and a 20% increase in earnings per share to 97 cents compared to $81 cents in the third quarter last year.

"We're looking at free cash flow of approximately $3.2 billion for the year," said CFO Dave Anderson when he and Treasurer John Tus sat down for an interview recently. "We will be a little over 100 percent of our net income. The company continues its performance track record and is expanding globally, particularly in the emerging markets." New product lines, technologies and businesses have been added. "We will have over $2 billion in outflows for acquisitions for the year. The one exception is our stock price–and we're in that boat with everybody. Investors are reacting to the real fear that is out there. Everybody's seeing deteriorating share price."

The greatest challenge posed by the worsening economic climate is to stay the course and stick to basics, Anderson said. "We've had nearly 50 acquisitions, 20 divestitures, during the last five or six years so there's been a strengthening of our portfolio. We've done a good job of managing the cost side of our business. We've been able to expand pretax operating margins on average 60 basis points per year since 2003." Revenue increased from $23 billion in 2003 and is expected to be more than $37 billion this year. He credits improving the quality of the portfolio and the work Tus and his treasury team have done for positioning the company "to do relatively well from an operating standpoint in this tougher economic market."

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