IFM Investors Pty Ltd lifted its holdings in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 9.9% in the fourth quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the SEC. The institutional investor owned 14,802 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after purchasing an additional 1,338 shares during the period. IFM Investors Pty Ltd’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,181,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.
Several other hedge funds have also made changes to their positions in the stock. Global X Management Co LLC grew its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 18.4% in the second quarter. Global X Management Co LLC now owns 5,263 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $739,000 after acquiring an additional 817 shares in the last quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 6.0% during the second quarter. Schroder Investment Management Group now owns 62,682 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $8,780,000 after acquiring an additional 3,540 shares in the last quarter. Andra AP fonden lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 26.3% during the second quarter. Andra AP fonden now owns 28,800 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $4,042,000 after acquiring an additional 6,000 shares in the last quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 84.9% during the second quarter. Bank of New York Mellon Corp now owns 3,752,688 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $526,615,000 after acquiring an additional 1,723,429 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Old Port Advisors purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the second quarter worth $461,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 75.81% of the company’s stock.
In related news, Director Leslie S. Biller sold 2,811 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, November 30th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.40, for a total transaction of $450,884.40. Following the completion of the sale, the director now owns 57,842 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $9,277,856.80. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available at this hyperlink. Also, Chairman Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 40,025 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, November 7th. The shares were sold at an average price of $160.20, for a total transaction of $6,412,005.00. Following the sale, the chairman now directly owns 558,017 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $89,394,323.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. 1.50% of the stock is owned by corporate insiders.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last issued its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, October 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.53 EPS for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $1.53. The company had revenue of $3.75 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.74 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.99% and a return on equity of 19.13%. The firm’s revenue was up 5.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period in the prior year, the firm posted $1.37 EPS. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.25 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, December 18th were paid a $0.46 dividend. This is an increase from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.41. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.20%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend was Monday, December 17th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is currently 39.23%.
A number of brokerages recently issued reports on ECL. Zacks Investment Research downgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Monday, December 3rd. UBS Group raised their price objective on Ecolab from $165.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, October 2nd. Citigroup cut Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research note on Wednesday, November 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. Oppenheimer reissued a “market perform” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Wednesday, November 21st. Finally, Deutsche Bank raised their target price on Ecolab from $150.00 to $162.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research note on Monday, November 5th. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have assigned a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target of $154.47.
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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