No de­ci­sion yet on sale of JCI au­to­mo­tive bat­tery busi­ness

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - - Business - Guy Boul­ton

John­son Con­trols In­ter­na­tional plc re­ported a sharp in­crease in net in­come for its 2018 fis­cal year on Thurs­day but did not an­nounce an ex­pected de­ci­sion on the sale of its au­to­mo­tive bat­tery busi­ness.

“We’ve gone through a very thor­ough process and have been as­sess­ing mul­ti­ple op­tions,” Ge­orge Oliver, chair­man and chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer, said dur­ing a con­fer­ence call with Wall Street an­a­lysts. “I would tell you that we’ve been dis­ci­plined in mak­ing sure that what­ever the out­come is that we are go­ing to be po­si­tioned to in­crease the most share­holder value.

“Lit­tle bit dis­ap­pointed about the tim­ing, but it’s some­thing we can’t con­trol. What I would say is we have made sig­nif­i­cant progress,” Oliver said.

Bloomberg re­ported last week that John­son Con­trols was close to a deal to sell its au­to­mo­tive bat­tery busi­ness to a pri­vate eq­uity firm. In March, the com­pany said it was ex­plor­ing the sale or spin-off of the busi­ness, known as Power So­lu­tions.

“What I be­lieve is the most im­por­tant is mak­ing the right de­ci­sion as op­posed to keep­ing to a set time­line,” Oliver said. “We are eval­u­at­ing all of the mul­ti­ple op­tions be­fore reach­ing the fi­nal de­ci­sion, and all op­tions are still on the ta­ble.”

The com­pany re­ported net in­come of $2.2 bil­lion, or $2.32 a share, com­pared with $1.6 bil­lion, or $1.71 a share, in its 2017 fis­cal year.

Net sales were up 1 per­cent from the $30.2 bil­lion re­ported for the 2017 fis­cal year.

For its fourth quar­ter, John­son Con­trols re­ported a drop in net in­come to $771 mil­lion, or 83 cents a share, com­pared with net in­come of $875 mil­lion, or 93 cents a share, for the same pe­riod a year ear­lier.

Rev­enue was up slightly to $8.4 bil­lion for the quar­ter com­pared with $8.1 bil­lion in the same quar­ter of 2017.

But the com­pany said it ex­pects earn­ings of $2.90 to $3.05 a share for fis­cal 2019.

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