Leggett & Platt fourth-quarter earnings up 39%

Leggett & Platt has reported a gain of 39% in its fourth–quarter earnings, with a 24.3% increase for the year. Sales were up 4.6% in the fourth quarter and 3.8% for 2002 as a whole.

“Leggett performed well in 2002, posting significant earnings growth on essentially flat sales (before acquisitions),” said Felix Wright, chairman and CEO of Leggett. “In the markets we serve, aggregate annual demand remained unchanged from 2001, at levels roughly 10% lower than in 1999 and 2000.”

Wright said increased market share, a reduction in costs and improved efficiencies, as well as new mandated accounting changes, were all important to Leggett’s performance.

Leggett’s residential furnishings segment reported a total sales increase of 3.6% in the fourth quarter and 4.1% for the year. Same–location sales, which Leggett says were augmented by acquisitions, were up 2.4% in the fourth quarter. Earnings before interest and income taxes in residential furnishings gained 23% in the fourth quarter, due to lower restructuring costs, higher sales and the elimination of goodwill amortization. EBIT was up 26% for 2002.

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