Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC Trims Stake in Ecolab Inc. (ECL)

Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC reduced its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 30.3% in the 1st quarter, Holdings Channel reports. The firm owned 1,212 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 526 shares during the period. Pillar Pacific Capital Management LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $214,000 as of its most recent filing with the SEC.

Several other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of ECL. Standard Life Aberdeen plc increased its holdings in Ecolab by 4.9% in the 3rd quarter. Standard Life Aberdeen plc now owns 189,799 shares of the basic materials company’s stock worth $29,757,000 after buying an additional 8,884 shares in the last quarter. Legal & General Group Plc lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 4.9% during the 3rd quarter. Legal & General Group Plc now owns 1,407,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $220,657,000 after buying an additional 65,417 shares in the last quarter. Marshall Wace LLP purchased a new position in shares of Ecolab during the 3rd quarter valued at about $1,166,000. Federated Investors Inc. PA lifted its position in shares of Ecolab by 103.6% during the 3rd quarter. Federated Investors Inc. PA now owns 177,964 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $27,901,000 after buying an additional 90,552 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Moody National Bank Trust Division purchased a new position in shares of Ecolab during the 4th quarter valued at about $83,000. 76.32% of the stock is owned by institutional investors and hedge funds.

NYSE ECL opened at $180.36 on Friday. 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 Inc. has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $186.34. The company has a market capitalization of $51.73 billion, a P/E ratio of 34.35, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.51 and a beta of 0.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings results 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. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.50% and a net margin of 10.06%. The company had revenue of $3.51 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.57 billion. During the same period in the previous year, the firm earned $0.91 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 1.0% compared to the same quarter last year. As a group, equities analysts forecast that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, June 18th will be paid a $0.46 dividend. This represents a $1.84 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.02%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 17th. Ecolab’s payout ratio is 35.05%.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Jill S. Wyant sold 29,300 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 7th. The stock was sold at an average price of $179.14, for a total value of $5,248,802.00. Following the completion of the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 34,718 shares in the company, valued at $6,219,382.52. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 1st. The shares were sold at an average price of $170.14, for a total value 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 $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last ninety days, insiders sold 335,758 shares of company stock worth $57,738,346. Corporate insiders own 1.52% of the company’s stock.

A number of research analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research cut Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, April 24th. Canaccord Genuity lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $186.00 to $198.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. UBS Group lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $186.00 to $191.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, May 1st. BMO Capital Markets lifted their price objective on Ecolab from $169.00 to $180.00 and gave the company a “market perform” rating in a research report on Thursday, May 2nd. Finally, Bank of America reissued a “buy” rating and issued a $200.00 price target (up from $178.00) on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, May 1st. Eleven analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have issued a buy rating to the company. The stock presently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $180.93.

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About Ecolab

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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