Exclusive: Johnson Controls explores auto electronics unit sale

NEW YORK Wed Mar 6, 2013 11:36pm GMT

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at an electric car as he tours an advanced battery facility, Johnson Controls, Inc. in Holland, Michigan, August 11, 2011. REUTERS/Larry Downing

U.S. President Barack Obama looks at an electric car as he tours an advanced battery facility, Johnson Controls, Inc. in Holland, Michigan, August 11, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Larry Downing

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NEW YORK (Reuters) - Johnson Controls Inc (JCI.N) is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics unit, but has no intention of selling its automotive interiors business, the company said on Wednesday.

Three people familiar with the matter told Reuters earlier on Wednesday that the diversified conglomerate was looking to sell its automotive interiors division.

Two of them later corrected the statement, saying they were referring to the electronics part of the automotive interiors and electronics segment, which accounts for a quarter of the division's sales.

Johnson Controls, the largest U.S. auto supplier with 2012 sales of more than $4 billion in car interiors, has grappled with industry-wide pressure on margins, low vehicle production in Europe and increased competition from China.

A successful sale of the electronics unit would leave JCI with the interiors unit as well as three other major businesses: automotive seating, building controls and car batteries.

The Milwaukee, Wisconsin-based company is being advised by investment bank JPMorgan Chase (JPM.N) on the potential electronics divestiture, the company said.

(This story is corrected throughout to show JCI intends to sell its automotive electronics business, not its automotive interiors business)

(Reporting by Soyoung Kim in New York and Bernie Woodall in Detroit; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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