DETROIT (Reuters) -- Johnson Controls Inc. posted quarterly earnings that more than doubled from year-earlier levels but fell short of analysts' expectations, sending its shares down 4 percent.
Sales rose 22 percent to $8.5 billion, but strong earnings from the company's auto components and battery production units were offset by flat income from the unit that supplies building heating and energy management systems.
Net income for Johnson Controls' fiscal third quarter rose to $418 million from $163 million a year earlier.
Excluding one-time items, earnings from continuing operations were 54 cents per share, 1 cent below what analysts polled by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S had expected.
Shares fell $1.37 to close at $29.11 in New York Stock Exchange trading today.
Analysts said evidence of recovery in global auto sales and better results for some of its rival auto suppliers had investors expecting more from Johnson Controls, the world's top supplier of auto batteries and a leading supplier of car interiors.
"While the result itself was a solid improvement, it fell a bit short of high expectations for the quarter especially given strength of production and positive results from other suppliers," Morgan Stanley analyst Ravi Shanker said in a note for clients.
The company raised its outlook for North American auto production this fiscal year to 11.4 million vehicles from 10.9 million vehicles but kept its forecast for Europe flat at 16.7 million.
The Milwaukee-based company raised its forecast for its full fiscal year ending Sept. 30 to $1.95 per share. That remains below the $2.00 per share average analyst forecast by Thomson Reuters I/B/E/S.
Brett Hoselton, an analyst with KeyBanc Capital Markets, said that forecast would disappoint investors, along with the company's past quarter performance.
"Earnings were below Street estimates and investor expectations were high," Hoselton said in a note for analysts.
Johnson Controls has been investing to build up its auto-related business in China, now the world's largest vehicle market.
In May, Johnson Controls made an unsolicited $1.25 billion bid for most of the assets of bankrupt auto parts supplier Visteon Corp., aimed in part at consolidating Visteon's operations in China.
In its planned China expansion, Johnson Controls said it would build 10 manufacturing plants over the next 12 months for its auto interior and seating business units and another plant every year for its battery business for the next several years.
Johnson Controls said it how has a 45 percent share of the automotive seating market in China. Its China-related auto revenues through joint ventures rose 40 percent to $774 million in the past quarter.
Johnson Controls ranks No. 8 on the Automotive News list of the top 100 global suppliers with worldwide sales to automakers of $12.80 billion during its last fiscal year.