Leggett & Platt Net Rockets 745 Percent in Q4; 62 Percent Up for Year

       

       

CARTHAGE, Mo.-A slimmer cost picture and a one-time tax benefit boosted Leggett & Platt’s fourth-quarter bottom line by 745 percent, to $73.5 million.

That performance elevated the manufacturer’s profit for the fiscal year by 62 percent, to $248.2 million. Net sales for the quarter, which ended on Dec. 31, were flat at $853 million. For the year as a whole, net sales totaled $3.7 billion, up 2 percent from the prior year.

The benefits from reduced costs were particularly evident in Leggett & Platt’s gross margin, which jumped 401 basis points to 20.8 percent. Selling, general and administrative expenses were held relatively in check, rising 1 percent in dollars and 13 basis points as a percentage of sales to 11.2 percent.

The tax benefit increased the company’s earnings per share by 18 cents. Even without that benefit, Leggett & Platt’s earnings per share rose 45 percent.

David Haffner, the company’s president and CEO, noted that Leggett & Platt was able to achieve growth in earnings before interest and taxes of 270 basis points as a percentage of sales, in spite of the modest 2012 sales growth. Looking into 2013, the company is anticipating sales growth of between 1 and 6 percent, to between $3.8 billion and $4 billion, based on an expected modest improvement in the economy.