Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls (NYSE:JCI) is known primarily as a "Tier One" auto supplier, a big-league provider of parts and services to global automakers like Ford (NYSE:F), Toyota (NYSE:TM), and Mercedes-Benz parent company Daimler (NASDAQOTH:DDAIF). The company is perhaps best known among investors as a maker of batteries for cars, including the lithium-ion battery packs used in electric cars and the most advanced hybrids.
JCI's battery leadership has drawn many investors' interest. The reelection of President Obama and the very visible early success of Tesla Motors' (NASDAQ:TSLA) Model S sedan have helped contribute to renewed investor interest in electric cars. Thanks to government backing – backing that now looks set to continue for at least four more years, thanks to President Obama's reelection – and Tesla's example, electric cars are once again being viewed as a promising growth industry.
But is an investment in Johnson Controls the best way to play it? To help investors answer that question, I created a premium report on Johnson Controls that looks at the company's business as a whole – and prospects for each of its divisions.
Following is an excerpt from that report that outlines three areas that Johnson Controls investors must watch. We hope you enjoy it.
The three areas you must watch
Area 1: Europe
About a quarter of JCI's revenue comes from supplying automakers in Europe. That business is under heavy pressure, as new-car sales in the region continue to fall and cash-strapped automakers continue to cut capacity. Will Roell's restructuring moves be enough to return operations in the region to profitability?
Area 2: China
Like many companies, JCI is looking to China as a major source of growth in coming years for all three of its businesses. But will that pan out? After several years of hyper-growth, the Chinese auto market has seen several quarters of relatively tiny gains. Key JCI clients like Ford are investing heavily to expand in the region, but how much more expansion will the market support? Likewise, JCI's hopes for a skyscraper boom depend on the Chinese economy, which has slowed. Watch China closely.
Area 3: That electric-car thing
Tesla's success won't do much for JCI's battery line – the Model S's battery pack is an in-house product that uses cells from Panasonic (NASDAQOTH:PCRFY) – but JCI is likely to get significant business if and when the major automakers move to launch competitive entries. An emerging, successful EV market in North America (or China, for that matter) would likely result in good growth for JCI.
Looking for more guidance?
That was just a sample of The Motley Fool's new premium report on Johnson Controls. If you're weighing whether the company is a buy or sell, the report is an essential resource for investors seeking more information on the company. Not only that, but the report comes with updated quarterly guidance and dives into upcoming catalysts on the horizon. Just click here now to get started.
Fool contributor John Rosevear owns shares of Ford. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ford and Tesla Motors. Motley Fool newsletter services recommend Ford and Tesla Motors. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.