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Leggett & Platt's earnings fall by 25% in the first quarter.
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Leggett & Platt's earnings fall by 25% in the first quarter.

'Significant business challenges' impact Leggett & Platt profits

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Leggett & Platt Inc. (NYSE: LEG) officials cited the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in reporting a drop in first quarter earnings and sales.

The Carthage-based manufacturer of engineered components and products for homes, offices and vehicles reported $45.7 million in profits, a 25% decline compared with $61.1 million a year earlier. Quarterly diluted share earnings fell 11 cents to 34 cents per share, according to a news release.

The company's sales dipped 9% to roughly $1 billion during the three-month period.

"Like so many in our community and around the world, we are facing significant business challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. These extraordinary circumstances have forced us to make very difficult decisions as we take steps to reduce costs during this period of drastic decreases in demand," Chairman and CEO Karl Glassman said in the release. "We rapidly deployed cost savings measures across the company, significantly reducing production levels and enacting temporary layoffs.

"We are also aggressively reducing fixed costs and cutting capital spending."

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, Leggett & Platt disclosed to the state three separate furlough actions involving a combined 720 employees in its hometown. The most recent, disclosed April 27, involved 83 employees at a wire mill in Carthage, according to a Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act filing with the Missouri Division of Workforce Development.

Company officials say sales somewhat stabilized in the first three weeks of the second quarter, at roughly 55% of average levels, according to the release.

As of March 31, Leggett & Platt's assets were $5 billion. The company has 15 business units and 140 manufacturing facilities in 18 countries.

The company also recently disclosed in a U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission filing that its top five executives collectively posted total compensation last year of more than $20 million. That’s roughly flat compared with total executive compensation in 2018.

LEG shares were trading at $32.41 as of 10:46 a.m., compared with a 52-week range of $22.03 to $55.42.

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