Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) – Equities research analysts at Seaport Global Securities boosted their FY2018 EPS estimates for Ecolab in a report issued on Wednesday, May 16th. Seaport Global Securities analyst M. Harrison now forecasts that the basic materials company will post earnings of $5.43 per share for the year, up from their previous forecast of $5.33. Seaport Global Securities also issued estimates for Ecolab’s Q1 2019 earnings at $1.08 EPS and FY2019 earnings at $6.08 EPS.
Several other research firms have also issued reports on ECL. Nomura upped their price objective on Ecolab from $125.00 to $136.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. JPMorgan Chase lowered Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 2nd. ValuEngine upgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Credit Suisse Group set a $137.00 price objective on Ecolab and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, April 27th. Finally, Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, April 30th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and eleven have given a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $143.94.
NYSE:ECL opened at $147.07 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a quick ratio of 0.77 and a current ratio of 1.15. The company has a market capitalization of $42.62 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 31.36, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.19 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab has a 12-month low of $146.64 and a 12-month high of $148.00.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, May 1st. The basic materials company reported $0.91 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.02. The firm had revenue of $3.47 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.38 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.01% and a net margin of 10.62%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $0.80 earnings per share.
A number of large investors have recently modified their holdings of the stock. BlackRock Inc. grew its position in Ecolab by 1.8% during the first quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,001,452 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,193,323,000 after buying an additional 288,375 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC grew its position in Ecolab by 3.7% during the fourth quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $770,976,000 after buying an additional 207,345 shares in the last quarter. Edgewood Management LLC grew its position in Ecolab by 3.8% during the first quarter. Edgewood Management LLC now owns 5,506,295 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $754,748,000 after buying an additional 199,660 shares in the last quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S grew its position in Ecolab by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,842,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $515,570,000 after buying an additional 73,309 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its position in Ecolab by 30.3% during the first quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,813,341 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $385,623,000 after buying an additional 653,809 shares in the last quarter. 77.99% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.
In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 113,768 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 14th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $136.89 per share, with a total value of $15,573,701.52. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 694,343 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 7th. The shares were bought at an average cost of $132.10 per share, for a total transaction of $91,722,710.30. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders bought 1,848,529 shares of company stock worth $248,579,565 in the last ninety days. 1.50% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 19th will be given a $0.41 dividend. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.12%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 34.97%.
Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, and Global Energy segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and primary metals, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial laundry industries.
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