Johnson Controls reported record sales for the fiscal 2007 first quarter ended 31 December 2006 up 9% to a record $8.2bn from $7.5bn last year, but the growth came in the building efficiency and power solutions (batteries) businesses rather than the ‘interiors experience’ [aka cabin components] operations.

Operating income before taxes was up 6% to $231m.

Chairman and chief executive officer John Barth said: “I am pleased with our performance in the first quarter, which was in-line with our expectations. Our building efficiency and power solutions businesses continue to deliver record results. The full-year outlook calls for Johnson Controls to outperform in its markets, making 2007 another year of record sales and earnings.”

Income increased 200% to $123m from $41m in 2006, due to the higher revenues as well as improved profitability, though that was offset by one-off costs associated with the acquisition of York.

Power solutions sales were up 10% to $1.1bn from $975m due to increased unit shipments of premium products and improved pricing, especially in Europe and Latin America. Income increased 27% to $142m from $112m, due to higher sales and operational efficiencies which more than offset the negative impact of higher lead costs.

Interiors sales for the first quarter of fiscal 2007 were off 11% to $4.2bn, due primarily to a 20% decline in North American revenues. Industry light vehicle production in North America was approximately 8% lower than the prior year amount, with light truck production 14% lower.

But revenues in Europe and Asia declined approximately in line with vehicle production levels. 

Income decreased to $35m from $112m a year before. However, Europe and Asia income was “significantly” higher than the prior year due to improved margins resulting from operational efficiencies and the benefits of cost-reduction programmes.

As expected, the North America business recorded a loss in the quarter.

The company continues to forecast full-year revenues increasing 6% to about $34bn with diluted earnings per share from continuing operations increasing 14% to approximately $6.00.

For the second quarter of fiscal 2007, the company forecasts diluted earnings per share from continuing operations of approximately $1.05, a 27% increase compared with $0.83 last year. Johnson Controls said it expects double-digit earnings increases in its building efficiency and power solutions businesses.

The North American automotive experience business is expected to return to profitability due to a more stable production environment.