Johnson Controls profit rises 59% on increase in automotive business

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MILWAUKEE (Reuters) -- Johnson Controls, which counts on Europe for about half of its sales, reported a 59 percent jump in quarterly profit as higher vehicle production in key markets boosted demand for car seats and other auto parts.

Sales in the automotive unit, whose customers include Toyota and General Motors, rose 11 percent to $5.62 billion, accounting for over half of total revenue, the company said.

The company, which also makes heating and cooling systems for buildings, has been cutting its reliance on the automotive industry.

It exited the automotive electronics business earlier this year and has been exploring options for its car interiors business, which makes floor consoles and door panels.

Automotive industry production increased 5 percent in North America, 5 percent in Europe and 9 percent in China during the quarter, the company said on Wednesday.

Sales in the heating and cooling systems business fell 5 percent as higher sales in Asia were offset by soft demand in North America, Europe and the Middle East.

Johnson Controls cut its 2014 earnings forecast to adjust for the sale of the electronics business. It now expects adjusted earnings of $3.05 to $3.18 per share, down from its earlier forecast of $3.15 to $3.30.

Net income attributable to Johnson Controls rose 59 percent to $261 million, or 39 cents per share. Excluding items, earnings were 66 cents per share, topping the average analyst estimate by 1 cent.

Revenue rose 4 percent to $10.46 billion. Analysts had expected $10.68 billion, according to Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.

Johnson Controls ranks No. 6 on the Automotive News Europe list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $22.5 billion in 2012. Europe accounted for 47 percent of that total.

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