NEW YORK (
) -- The tally is in, and
readers have named
Johnson Controls claimed the auto-supplier crown by tallying 30.9% of the votes. The runner-ups include
( ARM), which got 24.8% of the votes;
, which received 15.5% of the votes;
, which had 12.3% of the votes;
, which received 8.7% of the votes; and last, but not least -- well, come to think it, actually it was least -- was
, with 7.8% of the votes.
And recent news would indicate that the readers of TheStreet know what they're talking about. Johnson Controls is
off to a good start in 2010.
This producer of auto-interiors, auto-batteries and building efficiency systems pleased investors on Friday when it announced earnings and revenue that exceeded Wall Streets expectations.
Johnson Controls reported net income of $350 million, or 52 cents a share, compared with a loss of $608 million, or $1.02 cents, in the same quarter last year. The company reported $8.4 billion in sales, versus $7.3 billion last year. A survey of analysts by Thomson Reuters estimated earnings of 29 cents a share on revenue of $7.5 billion.
Johnson Controls first-quarter results also benefited from cost reduction initiatives taken over the past year. The company is increasing its full-year 2010 EPS guidance to $1.70 to $1.75 a share from a previous forecast of $1.35 to $1.45 a share.
The results also furthered investors' hope that
is indeed in place.
Standard & Poor's, for one, agrees with that notion -- the ratings agency has announced that it sees higher global vehicle production in 2010. S&P also believes that although production trends should vary by country, U.S. new light-vehicle production should expand. S&P also projects higher production in China.
All of which bodes well for Johnson Controls, given that the company has a presence in North America, Europe and Asia. The auto-supplier reported that its automotive experience segment recorded a 5.4% sales return in North America, a 0.5% return in Europe and a 6.1% return in Asia during the first quarter. China sales -- including unconsolidated results -- were up by an astonishing 112% to $745 million. Johnson Controls added that its building efficiency segment saw double-digit increases of commercial orders in energy solutions and Asia.
Those numbers lend further weights to S&Ps observation that auto suppliers are increasing their proportion of business done outside the U.S. S&P notes that emerging markets are becoming more attractive to parts manufacturers due to lower labor costs for manufacturing and engineering and growing demand in local and regional markets.
"We think long-term rising automobile production in Asia and other emerging markets presents an opportunity for larger, multinational suppliers to increase sales and profits over the longer term," the analysts note.
On Friday, the market responded to the news with a buying frenzy; by Friday afternoon, Johnson Controls stock had already surged 4.1% to $30.
-- Reported by Andrea Tse in New York
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