Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) – Investment analysts at Seaport Global Securities upped their FY2017 earnings per share estimates for shares of Ecolab in a research report issued to clients and investors on Wednesday. Seaport Global Securities analyst M. Harrison now expects that the basic materials company will post earnings of $4.82 per share for the year, up from their prior forecast of $4.76. Seaport Global Securities also issued estimates for Ecolab’s Q4 2017 earnings at $1.49 EPS, Q3 2018 earnings at $1.59 EPS and Q4 2018 earnings at $1.59 EPS.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, August 1st. The basic materials company reported $1.13 EPS for the quarter, beating the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.12 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.46 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.40 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.66% and a return on equity of 18.93%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 4.4% on a year-over-year basis. During the same period last year, the firm posted $1.08 EPS.
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Several other analysts have also weighed in on the company. Canaccord Genuity reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $135.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, May 1st. Oppenheimer Holdings, Inc. reissued an “outperform” rating and issued a $141.00 target price (up previously from $133.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday, June 2nd. J P Morgan Chase & Co raised Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “overweight” rating and upped their target price for the company from $120.00 to $138.00 in a report on Friday, May 26th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “hold” rating in a report on Thursday, July 27th. Finally, Deutsche Bank AG upped their target price on Ecolab from $132.00 to $134.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, August 2nd. Eight equities research analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab presently has a consensus rating of “Buy” and a consensus price target of $133.43.
Shares of Ecolab (NYSE ECL) traded up 0.20% during trading on Friday, hitting $130.49. 91,126 shares of the company traded hands. The company has a 50-day moving average of $132.25 and a 200-day moving average of $127.73. Ecolab has a 52-week low of $110.65 and a 52-week high of $134.89. The stock has a market capitalization of $37.76 billion, a PE ratio of 29.83 and a beta of 0.98.
The business also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, October 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, September 19th will be paid a dividend of $0.37 per share. This represents a $1.48 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.14%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, September 18th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 33.79%.
In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III purchased 75,500 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Thursday, August 3rd. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $132.57 per share, with a total value of $10,009,035.00. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, EVP Stephen M. Taylor sold 23,151 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, June 9th. The stock was sold at an average price of $133.06, for a total value of $3,080,472.06. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 44,466 shares in the company, valued at $5,916,645.96. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders have sold 44,810 shares of company stock worth $5,897,361. Corporate insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Hedge funds have recently modified their holdings of the company. Macquarie Group Ltd. raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 8.1% in the fourth quarter. Macquarie Group Ltd. now owns 24,970 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $2,927,000 after buying an additional 1,880 shares during the last quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.3% in the first quarter. Gulf International Bank UK Ltd now owns 80,693 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $10,114,000 after buying an additional 1,000 shares during the last quarter. National Pension Service raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 6.1% in the first quarter. National Pension Service now owns 205,888 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $25,806,000 after buying an additional 11,827 shares during the last quarter. Bank of Montreal Can raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 11.4% in the first quarter. Bank of Montreal Can now owns 186,447 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $23,370,000 after buying an additional 19,051 shares during the last quarter. Finally, First National Bank of Omaha raised its stake in shares of Ecolab by 20.5% in the first quarter. First National Bank of Omaha now owns 14,493 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $1,816,000 after buying an additional 2,468 shares during the last quarter. 75.66% of the stock is currently owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
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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