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Leggett & Platt sales up 5.4% in fourth quarter

Furnishings segment helps company end year on high note
CARTHAGE, Mo. — Components supplier Leggett & Platt said its fourth-quarter sales increased 5.4%, making it the strongest quarterly sales growth recorded in 2013.

The company's residential furnishings segment, whose products include furniture and bedding components, adjustable bed bases, bed frames and carpet underlay, was a strong contributor to the top line, recording a 6.2% sales increase.

Net income fell to $5.6 million or 4 cents per share from $73.5 million or 50 cents per share, due to a non-cash impairment charge of 31 cents per share. Last year's fourth quarter included an income tax benefit of 18 cents per share.

Without the unusual items, earnings were 35 cents per share in the most recent quarter and 32 cents per share in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Net sales for the quarter totaled $896.8 million, up from $850.1 million in the comparable quarter. Of that total, the residential furnishings segment's sales were $482.8 million, up from $454.8 million in the comparable quarter.

For the full year, net sales were $3.75 billion, a 1.1% increase from $3.71 billion in 2012.
The residential furnishings segment recorded a 3.3% increase to $1.97 billion.

Net income for the year totaled $197.3 million or $1.34 per share. That was down from $248.2 million or $1.70 per share, in 2012.

The 2013 figures included the impairment charge of 31 cents per share, a one-time gain of 6 cents per share from an acquisition and a gain of 5 cents per share for earnings from discontinued operations.

The 2012 figures included the earnings of 5 cents per share from discontinued operations and the 18 cents per share income tax benefit.

Without the unusual items, the company said earnings from continuing operations were $1.54 per share in 2013 and $1.47 per share in 2012. David Haffner, chairman and CEO, said the $1.54 figure was a new record for adjusted earnings per share, and came in spite of a sluggish economy that held sales growth to just 1%.

"We generated cash from operations well in excess of our dividend and capital requirements, as we've done for over 20 years," Haffner said. "We completed two additional, small acquisitions to augment our new aerospace tubing business. And we repurchased six million of our shares, reducing share count by 2%."

He said the company expects to hit another earnings-per-share record in 2014 at $1.65 to $1.85. Sales are projected at $3.85 billion to $4.05 billion.

Haffner said the company purposely has retained excess production capacity and can expand sales by about $400 million with little need for capital investment. He said every $100 million in incremental sales from unit volume increases will boost earnings by about 10 cents per share.

"For 2014, the outlook is a bit brighter than is has been for some time," he said. "With sales growth, we expect another year of record earnings from continuing operations. And as we look beyond 2014, we are encouraged by the positive direction several of our businesses are headed."

 

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