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Leggett & Platt adds 7 companies to holdings

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by Paul Flemming

SBJ Staff

Carthage's Leggett & Platt announced Feb. 5 it has acquired seven companies with annual sales of about $175 million, including Springfield's Miller Manufacturing. The Miller acquisition was effective as of Dec. 12, 1997.

"After 20 years, I was ready to get out," said Gary Miller, president of Miller Manufacturing and Lumber Sales Inc. But he's not really getting out. "It was never my intent to retire, and it was never their intent to have me stop doing what I'm doing."

Miller said he is working under a two-year employment contract with Leggett & Platt. He will continue as president of the company, which will retain its name.

Miller makes the wood components for bedding box springs. The company employs 24 at its East Commercial location, and 14 in a Burlington, Iowa, facility. Miller bought the company in 1977 from Dallas Johnson, the business' second owner. It was originally Nixa Box Frame Company.

In 1977, Miller said, the company had $164,000 in sales. That grew to $8 million in 1997, he said. During the same period, the company grew from a 7,000-square-foot building to 39,000 square feet.

"While their average size is modest, all acquisitions offer strategic advantages," said Felix Wright, president and chief operating officer for Leggett & Platt, in a release. "We believe the long-term outlook for these companies is also attractive."

In its Feb. 5 announcement, Leggett & Platt said it purchased Syndicate Systems, of Middlebury, Ind.; Wilson Display, of Toronto; American Woodworks, of Greenville, S.C.; Cumulus Fibres, of Charlotte, N.C.; Falcon Industries, of Easley, S.C.; Phoenix Metal Technologies, of Lexington, Ky.; and Miller Manufacturing, in Springfield.

Leggett & Platt manufactures bedding and furniture, in addition to home, office and institutional furnishings, retail store fixtures, displays and other commercial products, and aluminum die castings.

A Leggett release pointed to Syndicate Systems, Wilson Display and American Woodworks as the largest of the acquisitions, representing more than $100 million in annual sales. Those three will expand the company's commercial shelving, display and fixture offerings.

The company highlighted Syndicate Systems' 1.4-million-square-foot plant and warehouse in Middlebury. "These state-of-the-art facilities, with substantial unused capacity, principally service mass merchandisers including Wal-Mart and Kmart," the Leggett release said.

Leggett & Platt trades on the New York Stock Exchange under the symbol LEG. The company reported sales of $2.9 billion in 1997.

"Leggett set new highs in sales and earnings last year, with strong cash flow. This continuing growth reflected enhanced performance in existing operations, plus benefits from numerous acquisitions," the company release said.

INSET CAPTION:

'While their average size is modest, all acquisitions offer strategic advantages.'

Felix Wright

Leggett & Platt[[In-content Ad]]

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