Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 491,499 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 16th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $136.83 per share, for a total transaction of $67,251,808.17. The acquisition was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Major shareholders that own more than 10% of a company’s shares are required to disclose their sales and purchases with the SEC.

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) traded up $1.38 during mid-day trading on Friday, hitting $138.08. The stock had a trading volume of 1,852,428 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,339,240. The company has a current ratio of 1.34, a quick ratio of 0.92 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. Ecolab Inc. has a fifty-two week low of $122.58 and a fifty-two week high of $140.50. The firm has a market capitalization of $39,486.94, a price-to-earnings ratio of 26.86, a P/E/G ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 1.07.

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Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by ($0.01). Ecolab had a net margin of 10.90% and a return on equity of 19.10%. The company had revenue of $3.65 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business posted $1.25 EPS. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th will be paid a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 19th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.19%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 31.91%.

Several hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 13,565.1% in the fourth quarter. Caisse DE Depot ET Placement DU Quebec now owns 1,787,667 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $239,869,000 after buying an additional 1,774,585 shares in the last quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 55.9% in the fourth quarter. Amundi Pioneer Asset Management Inc. now owns 2,159,532 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $289,764,000 after buying an additional 774,520 shares in the last quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1,397.8% in the third quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 570,435 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $73,364,000 after buying an additional 532,349 shares in the last quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC grew its stake in Ecolab by 475.4% during the 3rd quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 548,104 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $70,492,000 after purchasing an additional 452,846 shares in the last quarter. Finally, BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in Ecolab by 1.5% during the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,713,077 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,108,380,000 after purchasing an additional 226,031 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 78.34% of the company’s stock.

Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Monday, January 22nd. Credit Suisse Group raised their price objective on Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Canaccord Genuity set a $145.00 price objective on Ecolab and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a report on Monday, March 12th. Barclays restated a “buy” rating and issued a $150.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, December 27th. Finally, Citigroup downgraded Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, January 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $140.88.

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About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries.

Insider Buying and Selling by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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