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Leggett & Platt’s earnings rise despite restructuring expenses

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Leggett & Platt Inc. (NYSE: LEG) produced 2018 profits of $305.9 million, a 4.5 percent increase from $292.6 million in 2017.

The gain came despite $14 million in fourth-quarter cash expenses brought on by a previously announced restructuring plan. Leggett & Platt officials last month pointed to expected costs of $33 million through the end of 2019 as the company downsizes its offerings and workforces in its weaker fashion bed and home furniture businesses.

"As we have previously discussed, the fashion bed and home furniture businesses have underperformed expectations in recent quarters, primarily from weaker demand and higher raw material costs,” Leggett & Platt President and CEO Karl Glassman said in the company’s earnings news release this week. “An in-depth analysis of these businesses was conducted, and we have initiated restructuring activity. We are exiting low-margin business, reducing operating costs and eliminating excess capacity.”

Leggett & Platt increased its net sales in 2018 by 8 percent to roughly $4.3 billion from $3.9 billion a year earlier.

2018 financial notes:
• Leggett & Platt posted its 47th consecutive annual dividend increase.
• The company invested about $112 million to buy back shares.
• Residential products, the company’s largest unit comprising bedding, fabric and carpet cushions, and machinery, grew sales 5.2 percent to $1.7 billion.

As of Dec. 31, the Carthage-based manufacturer of engineered components and products for homes, offices and vehicles held assets of $3.4 billion. The company employs 23,000 people in 15 business units operating at 145 manufacturing plants in 18 countries, according to the release.

LEG shares were trading at $44.04 as of 8:56 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $33.48 to $47.44.

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