Car-parts maker Johnson Controls ( JCI) appears to be surviving the recession -- and the auto-industry implosion -- better than a host of its peers.

The Milwaukee company posted stronger-than-expected per-share earnings for its fiscal third quarter: 26 cents, compared with analysts' expectations of 19 cents.

But it's still been difficult, make no mistake. Johnson Controls' bottom line plunged 63% to $163 million from $439 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue fell 29% to $7 billion from $9.9 billion.

The company's automobile division performed the worst: sales there fell 38% to $3 billion. But Johnson Controls said that it's been taking business away from rivals, including two seating and interiors supply deals. In the earnings release it says that "it expects automakers to continue to look for ways to assure continuity of supply and it is well positioned to gain market share from financially distressed competitors."

Sales at the company's large construction-equipment unit declined by just 14%, taking in sales of $3.2 billion during the quarter, and thus rendering the "car-parts maker" description of the company perhaps a bit inaccurate.

Immediately after the opening bell, investors had bid up shares of the company more than 7% to $23.19.
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