Johnson Controls exploring options for separation of automotive business

MILWAUKEE – Johnson Controls says it is looking at options for the separation of its automotive business.

The Milwaukee company, which makes auto components and building systems, said Wednesday that it doesn’t have a timetable for when its strategic review will be completed. Its shares rose more than 4 per cent in morning trading.

The automotive business, which includes seating, overhead systems, floor consoles, door panels and instrument panels, made up more than half of Johnson Controls’ $42.83 billion in revenue last fiscal year.

Johnson Controls also has a power solutions unit that includes lead-acid automotive batteries and advanced batteries for Start-Stop, hybrid and electric vehicles.

The company is selling its global workplace solutions division — which manages spaces for corporations — to CBRE Group Inc. for about $1.48 billion. The deal, announced in March, is expected to close by the fourth quarter.

In September Johnson Controls Inc. announced that it was reorganizing its building efficiency business, separating the unit’s North America business from its global products business. The building efficiency business provides equipment, controls and services for heating, ventilating, air conditioning refrigeration and securities systems.

Johnson Controls is among several companies that are breaking off parts of their businesses. General Electric Co. said Tuesday that it will sell its private equity business in a deal valued at approximately $12 billion. EBay Inc. announced in October that it will split off payment processor PayPal. And Hewlett-Packard Co. is planning to break up its operations into two separate companies before November.

Johnson Controls shares rose $2.20, or 4.3 per cent, to $53.76 in morning trading as the broader market advanced. Johnson Controls shares have risen 7.7 per cent over the past year.