Leggett Posts Record 3Q Sales and Earnings

Carthage, MO, October 22-- Leggett & Platt reported record quarterly earnings of $0.41 per diluted share for the third quarter, within the range of guidance issued on July 21. Per share earnings increased 58%, or $0.15, from the $0.26 attained last year in the third quarter. Higher sales, and ongoing consolidation and cost reduction efforts were noteworthy contributors to the earnings increase. Record quarterly sales of $1.34 billion were 16% higher than in the third quarter of 2003, with acquisitions contributing 3% of the growth. Same location sales increased 13%, with approximately two-thirds attributable to inflation (primarily due to higher steel costs). Organic sales growth for the trailing twelve months was 11%, the strongest pace since 1993. In the company’s residential furnishings unit, which included carpet underlayment, total sales increased $74 million, or 13%. Same location sales increased 11%, and were augmented by acquisitions. Felix E. Wright, chairman and CEO said, that volume growth (excluding inflation) reached double-digits in several product categories, including components for upholstered furniture, die cast aluminum components, carpet underlay, tubing, and machinery. The company’s outlook for the full year has improved. Both unit growth and inflation (primarily in steel related products) are contributing to sales growth. For the full year, organic sales are anticipated to increase about 10% versus 2003. Acquisitions should contribute roughly $200 million of incremental revenue, resulting in record full year trade sales of $5.0-5.1 billion. For the fourth quarter, the company expects earnings of $.31-$.36 per share (which results in full year earnings of $1.43-$1.48 per share). Leggett anticipates its typical sequential (4Q vs. 3Q) sales decrease of approximately $100 million, yielding fourth quarter trade sales of about $1.24 billion. At this sales level, fourth quarter organic sales growth would be approximately 6% (versus 4Q 2003). Worldwide innerspring unit sales were essentially flat, but unit sales of mechanisms for upholstered furniture increased significantly.

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