Leggett & Platt, Incorporated's CEO Discusses Q1 2012 Results - Earnings Call Transcript

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated (LEG)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 27, 2012 9:00 am ET

Executives

David M. DeSonier - Senior Vice President of Strategy & Investor Relations

David S. Haffner - Chief Executive Officer, President, Director and Member of Executive Committee

Karl G. Glassman - Chief Operating Officer, Executive Vice President and Director

Susan R. McCoy - Director of Investor Relations

Matthew C. Flanigan - Chief Financial Officer, Senior Vice President, Director and Chairman of Enterprise Risk Management Committee

Analysts

Leah Villalobos - Longbow Research LLC

Keith B. Hughes - SunTrust Robinson Humphrey, Inc., Research Division

John A. Baugh - Stifel, Nicolaus & Co., Inc., Research Division

Budd Bugatch - Raymond James & Associates, Inc., Research Division

Herbert Hardt - Monness, Crespi, Hardt & Co., Inc., Research Division

Allen Zwickler - First Manhattan Co., Research Division

Presentation

Operator

Greetings, and welcome to the Leggett & Platt First Quarter 2012 Earnings Conference Call. [Operator Instructions] As a reminder, this conference is being recorded. It is now my pleasure to introduce your host, David DeSonier, Senior Vice President of Strategy and Investor Relations for Leggett & Platt Incorporated. Thank you. Mr. DeSonier, you may begin.

David M. DeSonier

Good morning, and thank you for taking part in Leggett & Platt's First Quarter Conference Call. With me this morning are the following: Dave Haffner, our CEO; Karl Glassman, our Chief Operating Officer; Matt Flanagan, our CFO; and Susan McCoy, our Staff VP of Investor Relations.

The agenda for our call this morning is as follows: Dave Haffner will start with a summary of the major statements we made in yesterday's press release, Karl will provide operating highlights, Dave will then address our outlook for 2012, and finally, the group will answer any questions you have.

This conference is being recorded for Leggett & Platt and is copyrighted material. This call may not be transcribed, recorded or broadcast without our expressed permission. A replay is available from the IR portion of our website.

We posted to the IR portion of the website yesterday a set of PowerPoint slides that contain summary of financial information. Those slides supplement the information we discuss on this call, including non-GAAP reconciliations. I need to remind you that remarks today concerning future expectations, events, objectives, strategies, trends or results constitute forward-looking statements.

Actual results or events may differ materially due to a number of risks and uncertainties, and the company undertakes no obligation to update or revise these statements. For a summary of these risk factors and additional information, please refer to yesterday's press release and the section in our 10-K entitled Forward-Looking Statements.

I'll now turn the call over to Dave Haffner.

David S. Haffner

Good morning, and thank you for participating in our call. We were pleased with the first quarter results we reported yesterday. First quarter same-location sales increased 4.5% versus a relatively strong first quarter of 2011, reflecting a combination of unit volume growth and raw material related price inflation. Volume trends were mixed across our businesses. We saw volume gains in automotive and office components, as well as in U.S. Spring, adjustable beds and other parts of the Residential segment. The most notable volume declines occurred in store fixtures, furniture hardware and commercial vehicle products.

Earnings per share for the quarter were $0.30, unchanged from the first quarter of 2011. In last year's first quarter, we had a $0.03 per share benefit from unusual items including gains from building sales that did not recur in 2012. Current quarter earnings benefited from higher unit volumes. We are also realizing the expected earnings benefits from the restructuring activities we initiated in late 2011. The strategically attractive Western Pneumatic Tube acquisition that we completed in January is exceeding in our expectation for strong operating performance.

In the first half of this year, we will recognize $6 million of charges, half of this in the first quarter from an acquisition-related fair value adjustment to inventory. These charges will not repeat in the back half of this year, so we expect Western's earnings to improve as the year progresses.

Our operating folks continue to do an excellent job of closely managing working capital reflecting our focus on return optimization. We ended the quarter with working capital at 12.3% of annualized sales. Current liabilities include approximately $28 million, associated with an interest rate swap that we entered in 2010. If you exclude that item, working capital was 13% of annualized sales, still well below our 15% target. Cash from operations was strong during the quarter at $65 million. We expect operating cash for the full year of over $325 million, which should once again comfortably exceed the amount required to fund capital expenditures and dividends.

Capital expenditures should be approximately $100 million this year and dividends should require about $160 million. We have maintained our strong financial base and ended the first quarter with net debt at 34% of net capital, which is within our long-term targeted range of 30% to 40%.

In February, we declared a quarterly dividend of $0.28 per share and extended to 41 years our record of consecutive annual dividend increases. At yesterday's closing price of $23.67, the current dividend yield is 4.7%. Given the cash outlay to acquire Western Pneumatic Tube, we did not complete any open market purchases of our stock during the first quarter. However, consistent with our stated priorities for use of excess cash flow, we expect eventually to resume buying back our stock subject to the outlook to the outlook for the economy, our level of cash generation and other potential opportunities to grow the company. For the full year, with strong cash generation, we expect to repurchase some number of our shares but have established no specific repurchase commitment or timetable. We have a standing authorization from our Board to repurchase up to 10 million shares each year.

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