Johnson Controls returns to profitability

After absorbing losses during the first two quarters of the fiscal year Glendale-based Johnson Controls Inc. said it turned a $163 million profit in the third quarter.

The company lost $193 million in the second quarter and $608 million in the first quarter as the downturn in the automotive and construction industries hit the company hard.

However, the company’s third quarter net income of $163 million, or 26 cents per diluted share, was still down 62.8 percent compared to net income of $439 million, or 73 cents per diluted share, from the third quarter of 2008. The company’s net sales for the quarter were $7 billion, down 29 percent from $9.9 billion for the third quarter of 2008.

"In most of our global markets this quarter, economic conditions remain very challenging," said chairman and chief executive officer Steve Roell. "I am pleased to report that despite this environment, we returned to solid profitability. The cost improvement initiatives we undertook earlier this year are providing the expected benefits. We believe the company is well positioned to further increase our profitability in our fourth quarter and into 2010. I want to thank our employees and management for their dedication, which enabled us to achieve such a significant improvement in earnings performance."

The company’s automotive division sales in the quarter declined 38 percent to $3.0 billion versus $4.8 billion last year. The company’s building efficiency division sales in the third quarter were $3.2 billion, down 14 percent from $3.7 billion last year. And its power solutions division sales in the third quarter were $856 million, down 39 percent from $1.4 billion in the year ago period.

"There are still many uncertainties in our industries, but there is better clarity than there was three months ago," Roell said. "Automotive production globally remains at low levels, but appears to be stabilizing. Industry analysts are beginning to see a bottom in the commercial buildings and residential HVAC markets in the next six to nine months. In addition, we expect an increasingly positive impact from the U.S. stimulus program. Due to our improved cost structure, Johnson Controls is well-positioned to benefit significantly as the markets improve."

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