Caledonia Investments PLC purchased a new position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor purchased 50,000 shares of the basic materials company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,709,000. Ecolab accounts for approximately 1.8% of Caledonia Investments PLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 14th biggest holding.

A number of other hedge funds have also bought and sold shares of ECL. Sterling Capital Management LLC boosted its stake in Ecolab by 1,397.8% in the 3rd quarter. Sterling Capital Management LLC now owns 570,435 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $73,364,000 after purchasing an additional 532,349 shares during the period. Atlantic Trust Group LLC boosted its stake in Ecolab by 475.4% in the 3rd quarter. Atlantic Trust Group LLC now owns 548,104 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $70,492,000 after purchasing an additional 452,846 shares during the period. Vanguard Group Inc. boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% during the 2nd quarter. Vanguard Group Inc. now owns 20,842,027 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,766,780,000 after acquiring an additional 387,804 shares during the last quarter. Eaton Vance Management boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 34.3% during the 2nd quarter. Eaton Vance Management now owns 1,481,329 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $196,646,000 after acquiring an additional 378,019 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC boosted its position in shares of Ecolab by 66.9% during the 2nd quarter. Parametric Portfolio Associates LLC now owns 918,902 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $121,984,000 after acquiring an additional 368,376 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 76.55% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have recently commented on ECL shares. UBS Group increased their target price on Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Barclays reiterated a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, December 27th. Jefferies Group increased their target price on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Stifel Nicolaus reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Robert W. Baird reiterated a “hold” rating and set a $140.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Thursday, October 12th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The company has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $137.21.

In related news, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 347 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $134.77, for a total value of $46,765.19. Following the completion of the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,615 shares in the company, valued at $1,026,273.55. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this link. Also, CFO Daniel J. Schmechel sold 1,708 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, December 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $136.30, for a total value of $232,800.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last 90 days, insiders sold 57,446 shares of company stock valued at $7,886,307. 1.49% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.

Shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) opened at $135.12 on Thursday. The stock has a market capitalization of $39,040.00, a price-to-earnings ratio of 30.43, a P/E/G ratio of 2.03 and a beta of 1.05. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $117.33 and a 52-week high of $137.96. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a current ratio of 1.23 and a quick ratio of 0.83.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, topping analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.36 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.56 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.55 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the company earned $1.28 earnings per share. analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.7 EPS for the current year.

The business also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 19th will be given a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, December 18th. This is an increase from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.21%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 33.33%.

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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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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