DETROIT -- Johnson Controls Inc. posted its first quarterly loss in 16 years partially fueled by losses in its automotive unit.
The company posted a net loss of $608 million on revenue of $7.3 billion in its fiscal first quarter ending Dec. 31. Revenue dropped more than 22 percent from $9.5 billion in the same period a year ago, when the company posted net income of $235 million.
JCI saw sales in its automotive supply unit drop 32 percent to $3.1 billion compared to $4.6 billion in the same period last year as car and truck production in North America dropped about 30 percent in the quarter. Production in Europe dropped as well, and JCI said in its earnings statement that it is still receiving significant production cut notifications.
Losses on currency exchange also inflated the companys automotive revenue drop, but sales were still down 25 percent excluding currency exchange, according to the statement.
JCIs automotive unit posted a $329 million net loss in the quarter including a $110 million impairment charge related to North American automotive assets, swinging from net income of $78 million last year.
Parts suppliers, strained by tighter credit and plunging auto production, have taken a further hit in recent months by concerns about the health of their major customers. General Motors and Chrysler LLC are each operating with the aid of $4 billion in federal rescue loans.
The supplier also said it is freezing new hiring and salaries, eliminating annual bonuses for executives and considering 4-day work week schedules.
Johnson Controls last loss was in the final quarter of calendar 1992, according to Bloomberg News. U.S. auto sales last year fell 18 percent to 13.2 million, the lowest total since 1992.
The company sees little relief coming in the short term, as it expects North American car and truck production to be down 46 percent in the second fiscal quarter ending March 31.
"The market environment and uncertainties we face are expected to continue in the second quarter," CEO Stephen Roell said in a statement.
At 9:43 a.m. eastern, JCI shares were trading at $16.45, down 62 cents or 3.6 percent.
JCIs suburban Detroit-based automotive business unit makes interior components, seating systems and batteries.
JCI, headquartered in Milwaukee, Wis., ranks No. 7 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $18.50 billion during its 2007 fiscal year.