Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) EVP Angela M. Busch sold 3,027 shares of the stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 13th. The stock was sold at an average price of $172.26, for a total value of $521,431.02. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 18,907 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,256,919.82. The sale was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website.

NYSE:ECL opened at $174.47 on Friday. The firm has a market capitalization of $49.83 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.23, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 0.89. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a current ratio of 1.27 and a quick ratio of 0.85. Ecolab Inc. has a 1 year low of $132.25 and a 1 year high of $174.98.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.54. The firm had revenue of $3.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.76 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.44% and a net margin of 9.74%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.38 earnings per share. As a group, sell-side analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 EPS for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th will be given a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.05%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 35.05%.

A number of large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Sowell Financial Services LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 3,824 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $564,000 after buying an additional 60 shares in the last quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 5.1% in the fourth quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 1,450 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $214,000 after buying an additional 70 shares in the last quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 50.7% in the fourth quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 214 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $31,000 after buying an additional 72 shares in the last quarter. United Capital Management of KS Inc. increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. United Capital Management of KS Inc. now owns 3,296 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $486,000 after buying an additional 73 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Renaissance Investment Group LLC increased its position in shares of Ecolab by 3.2% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Investment Group LLC now owns 2,395 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $353,000 after buying an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.61% of the company’s stock.

Several equities research analysts recently weighed in on the company. Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $186.00 price target (up from $160.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock an “in-line” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and increased their price target for the stock from $157.00 to $167.00 in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $210.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a report on Tuesday, February 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have assigned a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $163.93.

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Ecolab Company Profile

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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