Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) EVP Elizabeth A. Simermeyer sold 3,875 shares of the business’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, May 22nd. The shares were sold at an average price of $183.90, for a total value of $712,612.50. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 10,421 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $1,916,421.90. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at the SEC website.

Shares of ECL opened at $182.48 on Monday. The stock has a market cap of $52.60 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 33.98, a P/E/G ratio of 2.48 and a beta of 0.89. Ecolab Inc. has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $186.34. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73, a quick ratio of 0.75 and a current ratio of 1.14.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.01. The company had revenue of $3.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.57 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.50% and a net margin of 10.06%. The firm’s quarterly revenue was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the firm posted $0.91 earnings per share. As a group, equities research analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.9 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.01%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 17th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 35.05%.

Several large investors have recently added to or reduced their stakes in ECL. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 14,455.4% in the fourth quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,084,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $28,000 after acquiring an additional 4,056,773 shares in the last quarter. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter worth about $261,004,000. 1832 Asset Management L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 8,750.5% in the fourth quarter. 1832 Asset Management L.P. now owns 992,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $145,953,000 after acquiring an additional 981,191 shares in the last quarter. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 4.1% in the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,641,721 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,452,158,000 after acquiring an additional 656,297 shares in the last quarter. Finally, FMR LLC lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 186.7% in the first quarter. FMR LLC now owns 620,059 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $109,465,000 after acquiring an additional 403,800 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.27% of the company’s stock.

A number of equities research analysts have issued reports on the company. Zacks Investment Research raised Ecolab from a “sell” rating to a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Canaccord Genuity boosted their price objective on Ecolab from $186.00 to $198.00 and gave the stock a “buy” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Bank of America restated a “buy” rating and set a $200.00 price objective (up previously from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, May 1st. Nomura upgraded Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to a “buy” rating and boosted their price objective for the stock from $170.00 to $210.00 in a research note on Thursday, April 18th. Finally, Robert W. Baird set a $166.00 price objective on Ecolab and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Eleven research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab currently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $180.93.

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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.

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