Nomura Upgrades Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) to Buy

Nomura upgraded shares of Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) from a neutral rating to a buy rating in a research note published on Thursday, April 18th, Benzinga reports. They currently have $210.00 target price on the basic materials company’s stock, up from their previous target price of $170.00.

Several other research firms have also commented on ECL. Zacks Investment Research lowered shares of Ecolab from a hold rating to a sell rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 16th. Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab and gave the stock an in-line rating in a research note on Wednesday, February 20th. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a buy rating and set a $210.00 price objective on shares of Ecolab in a research note on Tuesday, February 5th. Seaport Global Securities reissued a neutral rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Finally, Edward Jones downgraded shares of Ecolab from a buy rating to a hold rating in a research report on Friday, April 5th. Eleven investment analysts have rated the stock with a hold rating and seven have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock has a consensus rating of Hold and a consensus price target of $180.93.

Shares of NYSE ECL traded up $0.32 during trading hours on Thursday, hitting $181.07. 1,182,647 shares of the stock were exchanged, compared to its average volume of 941,837. The company has a quick ratio of 0.75, a current ratio of 1.14 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.73. The firm has a market cap of $52.10 billion, a PE ratio of 34.49, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.46 and a beta of 0.89. Ecolab has a 12 month low of $135.77 and a 12 month high of $186.34.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 30th. The basic materials company reported $1.03 EPS for the quarter, topping the consensus estimate of $1.02 by $0.01. The firm had revenue of $3.51 billion during the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.57 billion. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.06% and a return on equity of 19.50%. Ecolab’s revenue was up 1.0% on a year-over-year basis. During the same quarter in the previous year, the business posted $0.91 EPS. On average, equities research analysts anticipate that Ecolab will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

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

In other news, EVP Roberto Inchaustegui sold 37,200 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Monday, March 4th. The shares were sold at an average price of $169.08, for a total value of $6,289,776.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 41,232 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,971,506.56. The transaction was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, CEO Douglas M. Baker, Jr. sold 157,125 shares of the company’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 1st. The shares were 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 directly owns 536,060 shares in the company, valued at $91,205,248.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold a total of 335,758 shares of company stock worth $57,738,346 over the last ninety days. Insiders own 1.52% of the company’s stock.

Several institutional investors and hedge funds have recently bought and sold shares of ECL. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 14,455.4% in the 4th quarter. Oregon Public Employees Retirement Fund now owns 4,084,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $28,000 after purchasing an additional 4,056,773 shares during the period. Norges Bank acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at $261,004,000. 1832 Asset Management L.P. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 8,750.5% in the 4th quarter. 1832 Asset Management L.P. now owns 992,404 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $145,953,000 after purchasing an additional 981,191 shares during the period. BlackRock Inc. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 4.1% in the 4th quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 16,641,721 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,452,158,000 after purchasing an additional 656,297 shares during the period. Finally, California Public Employees Retirement System lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab by 43.8% in the 4th quarter. California Public Employees Retirement System now owns 1,324,421 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $195,153,000 after purchasing an additional 403,454 shares during the period. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.32% of the company’s stock.

Ecolab Company 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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Analyst Recommendations for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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