Johnson Controls Gains on Report It May Divest Unit

Johnson Controls Inc., the largest U.S. auto-parts maker, soared the most in more than a year after Reuters reported the Milwaukee-based company is exploring a possible sale of its interiors business.

Johnson Controls gained 5.5 percent to $33.57 at 2:23 p.m. after earlier rising 8.3 percent, the biggest intraday gain since Nov. 30, 2011.

The parts-maker is considering a sale so it can concentrate on higher-profit building controls and battery businesses, Reuters said, citing three people familiar with the matter that it didn’t identify. An e-mail and telephone message seeking comment from Fraser Engerman, a Johnson Controls spokesman, weren’t immediately returned.

Johnson Controls got 51 percent of its $42 billion in revenue in fiscal 2012 from its auto parts unit, which makes seats, door panels and infotainment systems. The company also makes auto batteries and equipment for managing building climates and security.

The company on Jan. 18 projected earnings per share of 40 cents to 42 cents for the quarter ending March 31, citing a slump in the European auto market. The average estimate at the time of 21 analysts surveyed by Bloomberg was for a profit of 52 cents a share.

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