First Manhattan Co. Increases Stake in Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

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First Manhattan Co. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.4% during the first quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The institutional investor owned 6,050 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after purchasing an additional 82 shares during the period. First Manhattan Co.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $1,068,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other hedge funds also recently made changes to their positions in ECL. Sowell Financial Services LLC lifted its holdings in Ecolab by 1.6% in the fourth quarter. Sowell Financial Services LLC now owns 3,824 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $564,000 after buying an additional 60 shares during the period. Rothschild Investment Corp IL raised its holdings in Ecolab by 5.1% in the fourth quarter. Rothschild Investment Corp IL now owns 1,450 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $214,000 after purchasing an additional 70 shares during the period. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust raised its holdings in Ecolab by 50.7% in the fourth quarter. Parkside Financial Bank & Trust now owns 214 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $31,000 after purchasing an additional 72 shares during the period. United Capital Management of KS Inc. raised its holdings in Ecolab by 2.3% in the fourth quarter. United Capital Management of KS Inc. now owns 3,296 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $486,000 after purchasing an additional 73 shares during the period. Finally, Renaissance Investment Group LLC grew its position in Ecolab by 3.2% in the fourth quarter. Renaissance Investment Group LLC now owns 2,395 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $353,000 after purchasing an additional 75 shares in the last quarter. Institutional investors own 76.33% of the company’s stock.

In other Ecolab news, Director David Maclennan acquired 1,000 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 6th. The stock was acquired at an average price of $171.05 per share, for a total transaction of $171,050.00. Following the purchase, the director now directly owns 2,519 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $430,874.95. The acquisition was disclosed in a legal filing with the SEC, which is accessible through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of Ecolab stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total transaction of $26,733,247.50. Following the completion of the sale, the chief executive officer now owns 536,060 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 303,489 shares of company stock valued at $51,945,415 in the last quarter. Corporate insiders own 1.52% of the company’s stock.

NYSE ECL opened at $185.36 on Wednesday. The company has a quick ratio of 0.85, a current ratio of 1.27 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78. The stock has a market cap of $52.99 billion, a PE ratio of 35.31, a P/E/G ratio of 2.50 and a beta of 0.89. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $135.77 and a 52-week high of $185.76.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its earnings results on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, hitting analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.54. The company had revenue of $3.76 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.76 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 9.74% and a return on equity of 19.44%. Ecolab’s quarterly revenue was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter last year, the company posted $1.38 EPS. As a group, equities research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Monday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th were paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 0.99%. The ex-dividend date was Monday, March 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 35.05%.

ECL has been the subject of a number of analyst reports. Zacks Investment Research downgraded shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, December 31st. Boenning Scattergood reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $210.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Seaport Global Securities reaffirmed a “neutral” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded shares of Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating and raised their target price for the company from $157.00 to $167.00 in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Finally, Canaccord Genuity reaffirmed a “buy” rating and issued a $186.00 target price (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and five have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $163.93.

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Ecolab 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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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