Leggett & Platt Net Leaps in First Quarter

       

       

CARTHAGE, Mo.–Boosted by significant growth in sales and margins, Leggett & Platt’s first-quarter net income jumped 1,267 percent to $45.1 million.

The manufacturer attributed the strong performance to a combination of  “higher sales, cost structure improvements and pricing discipline,” according to a Leggett & Platt statement. It reported a 14 percent gain in net sales, to $816.4 million; and a 290-basis point in its gross margin, which reached 20.3 percent. In addition, it slimmed selling and administrative expenses by 9 percent.

David S. Haffner, president and chief executive officer, said the sales growth was particularly encouraging, coming on top of the company’s “significant cost-reduction efforts” from last year. Haffner said Leggett & Platt is in the midst of the second phase of its three-part strategic plan, unveiled in 2007. The company divested low-performing business in the first phase and is executing the second-phase initiatives of improving margins and returns on the businesses it has kept.

“The third step of our strategy is to grow the company at 4 to 5 percent per year on average over the long term,” Haffner said. This growth should come from product development and the identification of and expansion into new growth areas, he said.