Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) Major Shareholder Acquires $91,722,710.30 in Stock

Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 694,343 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 7th. The stock was acquired at an average cost of $132.10 per share, for a total transaction of $91,722,710.30. The acquisition was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Major shareholders that own at least 10% of a company’s shares are required to disclose their transactions with the SEC.

ECL stock traded down $3.10 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $133.97. The stock had a trading volume of 1,112,024 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,409,263. The firm has a market cap of $39,593.82, a price-to-earnings ratio of 28.57, a PEG ratio of 2.04 and a beta of 1.00. The company has a quick ratio of 0.92, a current ratio of 1.34 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.88. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $124.42 and a 1-year high of $140.50.

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

The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 19th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.22%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 34.97%.

Hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Wagner Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $112,000. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $125,000. Captrust Financial Advisors acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $129,000. Aevitas Wealth Management Inc. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $133,000. Finally, Community Bank N.A. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab during the fourth quarter valued at about $140,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 78.34% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts recently weighed in on the stock. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Monday, January 22nd. Royal Bank of Canada reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, January 19th. Zacks Investment Research raised shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $155.00 price objective on the stock in a research note on Monday, January 29th. Credit Suisse Group boosted their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Finally, Stifel Nicolaus boosted their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $140.00 to $153.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and ten have issued a buy rating to the stock. The company currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $141.06.

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Ecolab Company Profile

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.

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