Johnson Controls, Inc. Grows Thanks To Strong Automotive Sales In China

Johnson Controls subsidiary Recaro created this striking Camaro Z28 interior. Source: Johnson Controls.

Industrial products giant Johnson Controls (NYSE: JCI  ) just reported results for the third quarter of fiscal year 2014. In pre-market trading, shares fell as much as 1.7% on the news.

Third-quarter sales increased 3% year-over-year, landing at $10.8 billion. Adjusted earnings rose 17% to $0.84 per share. This figure excludes a variety of business divestiture and restructuring charges, adding up to $0.59 per share. Free cash flows fell 43%, stopping at $440 million.

Analysts were looking for earnings of $0.83 per share on roughly $10.8 billion in sales. Johnson met these estimates.

Sales rose 7% in the automotive interiors segment, driven by 11% higher car production volumes in China. Chinese revenues increased 28% to $1.8 billion. This market now comprises 32% of Johnson's total automotive sales.

Building efficiency sales fell 4% year-over-year due to soft orders in the Americas and the Middle East.

Power solutions notched a 6% revenue increase, again thanks to healthy orders from the automotive industry. The company sells standard car batteries and electric vehicle power systems under brands such as Optima Batteries and Varta.

Looking ahead, management set a range for fourth-quarter earnings between $1.00 and $1.02 per share, excluding transaction-related costs just as this report did. Full-year free cash flow targets remained unchanged at $1.6 billion, and all three divisions are expected to grow their operating margins.

"We continue to execute well across all of our businesses, improving our operational performance while making significant changes to our businesses," said Johnson Controls CEO Alex Molinaroli in a prepared statement.

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