Johnson Controls' stock lost almost 43% – dropping from $41 at the beginning of 2020 to below $24 in late March 2020 – then spiked 2.6x to around $63 now (as of early May 2023). That means it is well above the pre-pandemic levels.
Why? While the Covid-19 outbreak and associated lockdowns resulted in an uncertain outlook for the broader markets, the multi-billion-dollar Fed stimulus announced in late March 2020 helped the markets stage a strong recovery. Investors were expecting a quicker economic rebound. However, higher inflation, supply chain disruptions, and rising interest rates weighed on the broader markets as well as JCI stock in 2022.
With the economic slowdown, the global real estate market took a hit in 2020, both residential and non-residential. Johnson Controls provides heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning systems for buildings, among other building solutions, and it also saw its sales decline in fiscal 2020. The business did see a rebound in 2021 and 2022, but the supply chain disruptions, forex headwinds, rising costs, and slowing economic growth may weigh on Johnson Controls' performance in fiscal 2023.
Johnson Controls reported a 10% growth in revenues to $6.7 billion, primarily led by the North America segment, which saw a 13% y-o-y growth. The company's adjusted earnings grew 19% to $0.75 per share, led by revenue growth, a 70 bps improvement in adjusted EBIT margin, and a lower share count. The company expects its full-fiscal 2023 revenues to rise in low double-digits and its earnings to be between $3.50 and $3.60 on a per-share and adjusted basis.
Increasing urbanization in the developing world, at a rate of 100,000 people a day, will create major opportunities for the company. Furthermore, environmental regulations are driving a need for greater energy efficiency. For example, China aims to go "green" by reducing its emissions. The Internet of Things (IoT) will be the number one form of connectivity, and the growing demand for smart building applications will contribute to the market expansion. These trends will help Johnson Controls significantly boost its earnings, with multiple opportunities for strategic growth across the current platforms of the company.
In April 2019, Johnson Controls completed the sale of its Power Solutions business to Brookfield Business Partners L.P. in a cash transaction valued at $13.2 billion.
Below are the key drivers of Johnson Controls' value that present opportunities for upside or downside:
Johnson Controls is a global multi-industry company that provides heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC), and other mechanical systems for buildings. The company also provides technical services, energy management consulting, and operational support for the entire real estate portfolios in the non-residential buildings market. It also provides industrial refrigeration products.
The company's Buildings segment includes building efficiency, fire equipment and security services division. Johnson Controls is a global leader in delivering integrated control systems, mechanical equipment, products, and services designed to improve the comfort, safety, and energy efficiency of non-residential buildings and residential properties with operations in 70 countries. Revenues come from technical services and the replacement and upgrade of HVAC controls and mechanical equipment in the existing buildings market, where the Company’s large base of current customers leads to repeat business, as well as with installing controls and equipment during the construction of new buildings. Customer relationships often span the entire building lifecycle.
Johnson Controls is also a leading global provider of security products and services, fire detection and suppression products and services, and life safety products. The business offers a broad portfolio of products and services sold under well-known brands such as Tyco, SimplexGrinnell, Sensormatic, Wormald, Ansul, Simplex, Scott, and ADT (other than in the U.S., Canada, and Korea) and serves security, fire detection, and suppression and life safety needs across commercial, industrial, retail, small business, institutional and governmental markets, as well as non-U.S. residential markets.
The global spread of coronavirus resulted in lockdowns in various cities across the globe, which affected industrial and economic activity in the first half of 2020. This led to a significant impact on the overall demand across the globe.
A company such as Johnson Controls, which primarily provides heating, ventilation, air-conditioning, and mechanical systems, among other products and solutions for buildings, has seen its sales decline. That said, the company saw a rebound in demand in fiscal 2021 and fiscal 2022.
Emerging markets like China are projected to contribute a major share of growth in the global HVAC market due to increasing income levels, continuing urbanization, and lower current penetration levels of HVAC equipment. China dominates the global HVAC market and accounts for the highest unit sales annually. Johnson Controls' strong presence in China and other major developing markets positions the company well to take advantage of these growth opportunities.
Residential as well as non-residential construction spending from developing countries is rising as a large number of people in these countries are moving from rural areas to cities. The growth potential is also huge as the percentage of the population living in cities in the less developed regions of the world (all of Africa, Asia excluding Japan, Latin America, and the Caribbean) is much below the percentage of the population living in cities in the developed regions of the world. Even countries such as China and India that have seen more than two decades of high growth have a significant proportion of their populations living in rural areas. China, for instance, still has around 45% of its population living in rural areas, while India has around 65% of its population living in rural areas. In comparison, developed countries such as the U.S., U.K., and Japan have over 80% of their populations living in cities. Thus, in the coming years, as people in these developing countries move from rural areas to cities, large investments in housing, commercial buildings, and other infrastructure will be made. This will provide a large growth opportunity for Johnson Controls' building market businesses.
The growing global trend of higher energy efficiency driven by rising energy prices and efforts to slash emissions will benefit Johnson Controls.
Environmental regulations are driving a need for energy efficiency, with 50% of new construction in China expected to be "green" over the next few years. Higher energy efficiency in buildings is a growing demand for the company’s energy-related advisory services. In this space, Johnson Controls’ growth is also helped by the fact that investments by customers in building energy efficiencies are recovered over time through lower operational costs.
Homeowners are becoming increasingly aware of air quality issues. Allergies are the 6th biggest cause of chronic illness in the U.S. This awareness will help increase sales of ventilation equipment.