Johnson Controls Inc. posted a 59-percent surge in profit in the first quarter of 2014 to $261 million, or 39 cents per share, as sales of auto parts like car seats were boosted by higher vehicle production in key markets. The company said that auto industry production surged 5 percent in North America, 5 percent in Europe and 9 percent in China in the first quarter of 2014.
Excluding items, first-quarter earnings were 66 cents per share, surpassing the average analyst estimate by 1 cent. Johnson Controls’ automotive unit logged an 11-percent rise in first-quarter sales to $5.62 billion, which represented over half of the company’s total revenue.
Johnson Controls posted a 4-percent rise in revenues to $10.46 billion. Analysts had expected $10.68 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S. Johnson Controls has been reducing its dependence on the automotive industry; it has already divested its automotive electronics operations and has been exploring options for its car interiors business.
The company saw its sales in the heating and cooling systems operations drop 5 percent, as higher sales in Asia were offset by weak demand in North America, Europe and the Middle East.
For the full year 2014, Johnson Controls is expecting lower earnings as it adjusts for the sale of the electronics business. The company is now expecting to post $3.05-$3.18 per share in adjusted earnings, from a previous forecast of $3.15-$3.30.