Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 32,468 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Thursday, September 13th. The shares were sold at an average price of $155.80, for a total value of $5,058,514.40. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through this hyperlink.

Shares of Ecolab stock opened at $157.12 on Friday. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.80, a current ratio of 1.27 and a quick ratio of 0.84. The stock has a market cap of $44.99 billion, a PE ratio of 33.50, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.27 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab Inc. has a 1-year low of $125.74 and a 1-year high of $157.23.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, July 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.27 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $1.27. The company had revenue of $3.69 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.69 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 18.96% and a net margin of 10.83%. The company’s revenue was up 6.6% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm earned $1.13 earnings per share. analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.37 EPS for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, September 18th will be paid a dividend of $0.41 per share. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 17th. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.04%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 34.97%.

Several research analysts have commented on the company. Credit Suisse Group raised their price objective on Ecolab from $140.00 to $142.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, August 1st. ValuEngine lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Saturday, May 26th. Nomura raised their price objective on Ecolab from $136.00 to $146.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, June 28th. Boenning Scattergood reissued a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, July 31st. Finally, Oppenheimer raised their price objective on Ecolab from $153.00 to $156.00 and gave the company an “outperform” rating in a research report on Tuesday, August 7th. Eight analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and ten have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab has an average rating of “Buy” and an average target price of $149.00.

Institutional investors have recently made changes to their positions in the company. Braun Bostich & Associates Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 487.7% during the second quarter. Braun Bostich & Associates Inc. now owns 858 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $120,000 after acquiring an additional 712 shares in the last quarter. Squar Milner Financial Services LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the second quarter valued at about $126,000. Signaturefd LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the first quarter valued at about $131,000. Flagship Harbor Advisors LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the second quarter valued at about $139,000. Finally, LeJeune Puetz Investment Counsel LLC acquired a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the second quarter valued at about $154,000. Institutional investors own 76.42% of the company’s stock.

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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