Leggett & Platt (LEG): 71 Years of Dividends, now Yielding 4.56%

Leggett & Platt (LEG) is one of the most impressive dividend payers in the S&P 500 Index, with an incredible track record. The company also manufactures products people use everyday - bed components!

While companies with highly visible brands may be easy to invest in, every now and then there is a gem which floats beneath the radar.
 
One such company is Leggett & Platt (LEG), which is North America's leading supplier of components for residential furniture and bedding, components for office furniture and drawn steel wire. In 2009 the company delivered $3.06 billion in sales and chances are that if you live in the United States, you sleep on a bed made with Leggett (LEG) components. The dividend yield is 4.56%.
 
The company has a global reach with 19,000 employees and more than 140 manufacturing facilities located in 18 countries.
 
One of Leggett & Platt’s (LEG) its most attractive features is its dividend. The company is trading on a historic dividend yield of 4.5%, which has grown 155-fold since 1971 as a result of 39 consecutive annual increases. It is regarded as having one of the best dividend paying records on the S&P 500, having paid every year since 1939 (71 years and counting).
 
Reporting first quarter results in April 2010, the company had earnings per share of $0.29 and sales of $816 million, 14% higher than in prior year. Earnings guidance for the full year was also raised with earnings per share expected to come in at between $0.95 - 1.30 per share on sales of $3.1 - 3.4 billion.
 
Cash from operations is expected to exceed $300 million for the full year.
 
President and CEO David S. Haffner concluded after the last quarterly results presentation: "While operating under our new strategy, we have achieved Total Shareholder Return (TSR) of 49% over the last 28 months, which ranks within the top 4% of all S&P 500 companies. TSR for the S&P 500 index was negative 13% over that identical time period."
 
If dividends are an integral part of your investment return then Leggett & Platt (LEG) may well be one of those companies which should be considered to bolster your portfolio.
 
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