Leggett & Platt Slashes its Dividend Resulting in a Sharp Stock Price Decline

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Written By Marcus Reynolds

Leggett & Platt, Incorporated designs, manufactures and sells engineered components and products in the United States and internationally. Known for its long-standing commitment to returning value to shareholders through dividends, Leggett & Platt recently slashed its dividend from $0.46 to $0.05, resulting in a significant decline in stock price.

Quarterly Results

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Leggett & Platt’s Q1 2024 earnings report revealed disappointing figures. Sales declined to $1.1 billion, a 10% year-over-year drop, while EPS fell from $0.39 to $0.23. The company left its 2024 guidance unchanged, still expecting significant declines in both sales and EPS for the full year.

Revenue and Profitability

The decline in sales was driven by decreased volume and lower raw material-related selling prices. Demand for Leggett & Platt’s products has weakened, a trend likely linked to broader economic sentiment rather than company-specific issues. All segments experienced negative organic sales growth, with the bedding products segment seeing the worst decline at 15%.

Consumer confidence in the United States has been volatile, and the housing market remains weak, as indicated by new and existing home sales figures. As long as these macroeconomic conditions persist, significant improvements in Leggett & Platt’s financial performance seem unlikely.

Profitability has also deteriorated, with margins shrinking across all segments. Bedding products again showed the most significant decline. The ongoing container crunch has kept sea freight costs elevated, potentially leading to higher expenses for the company. When compared to industry peers, Leggett & Platt’s profitability metrics highlight that better alternatives exist within the sector.

Capital Allocation

The recent dividend cut is understandable for several reasons:

  1. Financial Performance: The company needs to retain more capital internally to execute its strategy effectively rather than rely on debt or equity financing.
  2. Debt Reduction: Reducing debt is crucial for improving the company’s liquidity, which currently looks less robust compared to its peers.
  3. Financial Flexibility: In a challenging macroeconomic environment, maintaining financial flexibility is key for long-term viability.

However, this move affects investors who relied on Leggett & Platt’s consistent dividend payments. Given the uncertainties related to the firm’s restructuring and the management’s current priorities, it is uncertain when or if the company will become an attractive option for dividend investors again.


Despite a significant price decline over the past 12 months, Leggett & Platt’s stock appears to trade at a substantial discount. However, this discount seems justified given the declining sales, challenging macroeconomic environment, shrinking margins, and uncertainty surrounding the firm’s new strategy.

As such, investing in or holding Leggett & Platt’s stock now would be a speculative move not supported by strong fundamentals.

Watch Out for ‘Value Trap’

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The firm’s recent quarterly results, marked by declining sales and contracting margins, highlight the ongoing challenges. The macroeconomic environment, including poor consumer sentiment and a weak housing market, further exacerbates the outlook.

The results of the new capital allocation strategy are yet to be seen, and significant expenditures are expected in 2024 and 2025 to complete the restructuring. This introduces considerable uncertainty in the near term.

While the current valuation might seem attractive, it could be a value trap. The discount compared to the sector median and the firm’s historical valuation appears justified due to the poor fundamentals.


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