Zacks Investment Research upgraded shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) from a hold rating to a buy rating in a research report report published on Tuesday. They currently have $136.00 target price on the stock.
According to Zacks, “We believe that a robust product portfolio, new product launches and an expanding customer base will drive organic sales for Ecolab. In fact the realization of targeted synergies associated with acquisitions will help in margin expansion. The recent takeover offer for France-based Laboratoires Anios will expand Ecolab’s institutional customer base and service coverage, particularly in the healthcare, food service, and food & beverage processing industries. Moreover, it will strengthen the company’s footprint in the emerging markets of Latin America and Asia-Pacific. Ecolab’s consistent delivery of considerable earnings growth despite the current challenging business environment continues to impress. The company also has a strengthened recurring revenue base, a major positive in our view. However, Ecolab’s full-year 2016 results are expected to be impacted by volatile foreign exchange.”
ECL has been the topic of a number of other research reports. Jefferies Group reissued a hold rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, July 6th. Nomura reduced their price objective on Ecolab from $96.00 to $94.00 and set a reduce rating on the stock in a research note on Wednesday, June 29th. Barclays PLC reissued an overweight rating and issued a $120.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Friday, July 1st. Macquarie initiated coverage on Ecolab in a research note on Thursday, August 25th. They issued an outperform rating and a $143.00 price objective on the stock. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reissued a buy rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, June 22nd. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, six have given a hold rating and twelve have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab presently has an average rating of Buy and an average price target of $127.25.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) opened at 120.16 on Tuesday. The firm has a market capitalization of $35.04 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.68 and a beta of 0.87. Ecolab has a 12-month low of $98.62 and a 12-month high of $124.60. The company’s 50-day moving average price is $120.96 and its 200-day moving average price is $118.22.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, August 2nd. The company reported $1.08 earnings per share for the quarter, meeting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.08. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.24% and a net margin of 7.20%. The firm had revenue of $3.32 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.33 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the business posted $1.08 earnings per share. The business’s revenue was down 2.1% compared to the same quarter last year. Equities analysts expect that Ecolab will post $4.44 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 17th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, September 20th will be issued a $0.35 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Friday, September 16th. This represents a $1.40 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.17%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 43.89%.
In other Ecolab news, EVP Christophe Beck sold 5,789 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, September 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.70, for a total value of $710,310.30. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 32,475 shares in the company, valued at $3,984,682.50. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 25,800 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, August 19th. The stock was sold at an average price of $122.41, for a total value of $3,158,178.00. Following the completion of the sale, the chairman now owns 456,349 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $55,861,681.09. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Several hedge funds and other institutional investors have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. Point72 Asia Hong Kong Ltd purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth about $166,000. Bartlett & Co. LLC increased its position in Ecolab by 2.0% in the second quarter. Bartlett & Co. LLC now owns 1,568 shares of the company’s stock worth $186,000 after buying an additional 30 shares during the last quarter. Washington Trust Bank increased its position in Ecolab by 29.2% in the second quarter. Washington Trust Bank now owns 1,592 shares of the company’s stock worth $189,000 after buying an additional 360 shares during the last quarter. Nations Financial Group Inc. IA ADV purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth about $200,000. Finally, Nichols & Pratt Advisers LLP MA purchased a new position in Ecolab during the second quarter worth about $205,000. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 74.80% of the company’s stock.
Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s segments include Global Industrial, Global Institutional, Global Energy, Other and Corporate. The Global Industrial segment consists of the Water, Food and Beverage, Paper and Textile Care operating units. The Global Institutional segment consists of the Institutional, Specialty and Healthcare operating units.
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