The news was buried deep in its filing to the SEC, the way those Fortune 500 companies generally do it.
Leggett & Platt, which has its headquarters in Carthage, is looking to ship more and more of its production overseas.
In a filing today with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission, Leggett officials said, "In a recent and continuing trend, some of our customers have been moving a portion of their production from the U. S. to other countries. In order to remain a reliable and cost competitive supplier, we have and we expect to continue to establish operations in new regions of the world.
"Generally, we can produce components at a lower cost in the U. S. However, transportation and other logistical benefits of being in-country with our customers often more than offset the production cost differences." In other words, Leggett has to move a portion of its production overseas because everyone else is doing it.
The report continues, "Currently, the largest international influence on our business is China. As of September 30, 2004, Leggett operated eight Chinese facilities. In addition to our own facilities in China, we have strong relationships with many Asian suppliers."
Company officials gave every indication that Leggett's international expansion will continue. What they did not say, but hinted at, is that the expansion could come at a cost to workers in this country.
O'Sullivan Industries' move to its new corporate headquarters in Atlanta should be completed sometime this month, according to documents filed today with the federal Securities and Exchange Commission.
The company's first million-dollar CEO, Bob Parker, outlined his plans in the filing.
"Our new management team is excited about the future," Parker said. "We believe our strategic efforts will begin to show a slight improvement in results by the end of fiscal 2005. However, we anticipate the second quarter will be a challenge. While sales will be flat to slightly down in comparison to the prior year second quarter, our earnings will be challenged by several factors including:
"A reduction in gross margin from unabsorbed manufacturing overhead due to lowering planned production levels." That doesn't sound like good news to Lamar people who would like to have steady work.
Parker continued, "Most of this inventory correction will be completed in the second quarter and when completed will allow us to efficiently balance production and sales levels going forward."
O'Sullivan's earnings will also be hurt by the high price of particleboard and an increase of "promotionally-priced lower margin units," Parker said.
Parker tried to lower expectations for the company by saying, "Through our new strategic planning process, we have identified numerous areas requiring improvement at O'Sullivan. However, these fundamental changes will take time to implement. Looking to the future, we feel our strategic initiatives are in the process of building a new and stronger foundation at O'Sullivan that we think will provide improved and sustainable long-term results."
Parker said the company has completed a "comprehensive strategic planning process that has resulted in a strategy that will guide O'Sullivan for the next several years." The plan is a "dynamic" one, he added, but if it doesn't work, apparently he and the other new top officials will try something else since he indicated the plan will be "updated periodically as our organization evolves."
The company, which recently shed itself of many of the officials who helped put it on the map will "continue to evaluate our organizational capabilities and recruit new talent to O'Sullivan. These new employees, along with our existing associates, will facilitate our efforts to transform O'Sullivan into a consumer-oriented, results-driven organization," Parker said.
The report said net sales for the first quarter of 2005 were $62.7 million, a decrease of 12.3 percent from the first quarter of 2004. Operating income was $245,000, down from $3.8 million last year.
Company officials blamed the losses on the following reasons:
-"Lower sales levels
-"A reduction in gross margin due to unabsorbed manufacturing overhead." They bragged about working on this problem through the use of "aggressively lowered production levels," or sending a bunch of workers home.
The net loss for the first quarter of 2005, just about the first with the multi-million dollar management team in place, stood at $8.6 million, compared to $7.3 million reported in the first quarter of 2004.
As former NBC reporter Linda Ellerbee always said, "And so it goes."