UPDATE 1-Johnson Controls explores auto electronics unit sale

Wed Mar 6, 2013 6:14pm EST
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By Soyoung Kim and Bernie Woodall

NEW YORK, March 6 (Reuters) - Johnson Controls Inc is exploring a potential sale of its automotive electronics business, but has no "current intention" to sell its automotive interiors unit, the company said on Wednesday.

Johnson Controls, the largest U.S. auto supplier with sales of $5.5 billion in car interiors and electronics for fiscal 2012, has grappled with industry-wide pressure on margins, low vehicle production in Europe and increased competition from China.

A successful sale of the electronics division would leave Johnson Controls with four other major business: automotive seating, automotive interiors, building controls and car batteries.

Johnson Controls' automotive electronics had sales of $1.4 billion in fiscal 2012, representing a quarter of the revenues in the company's interiors and electronics division.

Johnson Controls said it has retained JPMorgan to run the sale process for car electronics. The deal could fetch more than $1 billion, according to people familiar with the matter.

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.   Continued...