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Brooke Sutherland

A Johnson Controls Breakup Is Necessary But Only a Start

Its margins still lag those of big rivals, and there's no sign of the pressure ending soon.
Photographer: Sean Gallup/Getty Images

Johnson Controls International Plc is taking one big step forward in its journey to become a multi-industrial company. It's still got plenty of work left to do.

The company on Monday announced it will explore alternatives for its power solutions unit, which makes automotive batteries. This has been a long time coming. 

The goal of Johnson Controls' 2016 merger with Tyco International and spinoff of its Adient Plc auto-parts operations was to refocus the company on HVAC, fire and security products. Those tend to be high-margin, stable businesses that throw off cash -- qualities favored by multi-industrial investors.