Washington Trust Bank lowered its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 18.4% in the first quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The fund owned 845 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 191 shares during the quarter. Washington Trust Bank’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $149,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

A number of other institutional investors have also added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 2.5% in the third quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,846,328 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $603,026,000 after acquiring an additional 93,640 shares during the period. Mirae Asset Global Investments Co. Ltd. acquired a new stake in Ecolab in the third quarter valued at $1,131,000. Capital Research Global Investors lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 9.5% in the third quarter. Capital Research Global Investors now owns 991,344 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $155,423,000 after acquiring an additional 86,087 shares during the period. Pacer Advisors Inc. lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 13.5% in the third quarter. Pacer Advisors Inc. now owns 13,855 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,172,000 after acquiring an additional 1,648 shares during the period. Finally, Rampart Investment Management Company LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 5.9% in the third quarter. Rampart Investment Management Company LLC now owns 22,014 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $411,298,000 after acquiring an additional 1,232 shares during the period. 76.33% of the stock is owned by institutional investors.

A number of equities research analysts have commented on ECL shares. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 16th. Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 price target on Ecolab and gave the stock an “in-line” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “buy” rating and set a $210.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Edward Jones downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research note on Friday, April 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the stock. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $163.93.

In related news, EVP Timothy P. Mulhere sold 11,600 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Monday, March 18th. The stock was sold at an average price of $174.39, for a total transaction of $2,022,924.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now owns 34,666 shares in the company, valued at approximately $6,045,403.74. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at the SEC website. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total value of $26,733,247.50. Following the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 536,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders have sold 303,489 shares of company stock valued at $51,945,415. 1.52% of the stock is currently owned by company insiders.

NYSE:ECL opened at $182.58 on Thursday. The firm has a market cap of $52.34 billion, a PE ratio of 34.78, a PEG ratio of 2.47 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 52-week low of $135.77 and a 52-week high of $183.41.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting the consensus estimate of $1.54. The business had revenue of $3.76 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.76 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.44% and a net margin of 9.74%. The business’s revenue was up 3.1% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the company posted $1.38 EPS. On average, analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, March 19th will be given a dividend of $0.46 per share. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 35.05%.

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Ecolab Company Profile

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, and Other segments. The Global Industrial segment offers water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, transportation, chemical, primary metals and mining, power generation, pulp and paper, pharmaceutical, and commercial laundry.

See Also: Institutional Investors

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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