Textron CFO Pick Dispels Buyout Rumors

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Textron's pick of a 22-year Goldman Sachs veteran appears to dispel rumors on Wall Street that the conglomerate could be up for sale.

Textron, which manufactures Cessna planes, Bell helicopters and turf maintenance equipment, on Tuesday named Frank Connor, 49, a former Goldman, Sachs & Co. corporate finance executive as CFO, effective Aug. 1.

The Goldman veteran most recently was managing director and head of Telecom Investment Banking.

Citi Investment analyst Jeffrey Sprague on Wednesday appeared to dismiss speculation that Textron's choice to hire the former investment banker as its new CFO signals a potential buyout.

"Although we wouldn't rule out a sale at the right price, if Textron was exploring an immediate sale it would not need to fill the CFO seat and put a banker on the permanent payroll," said Sprague, in a note to clients.

For the past several months, the Providence, R.I.-based company has been the subject of speculation of a potential buyout by analysts. Press reports have suggested a possibility that defense contractors may have interest in buying Textron, as well as a Middle East consortium.

In April, published reports said a group of United Arab Emirates companies and a Kuwaiti firm were offering $21 per share for Textron.

A Textron spokeswoman said it's company policy not to comment on market rumors.

Textron has been battered by the financial crisis and a steep fall in business jet orders. It has said it will further curtail production of Cessna jets this year as customers cancel or defer orders.

Its finance arm, which finances new and used Cessna business jets, golf courses and vacation-resort developments, has been particularly hard hit by the deteriorating economy.

In afternoon trading, shares of the Providence, R.I.-based company fell 27 cents, or 2.1 percent, to $12.84. The company's shares have traded between $3.57 and $45.42 over the past 52 weeks.

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