AGF Investments Inc. raised its stake in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 10.1% during the 1st quarter, according to the company in its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The fund owned 35,122 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after purchasing an additional 3,223 shares during the period. AGF Investments Inc.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $5,473,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
Other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. Integrated Advisors Network LLC acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter valued at $370,000. Comgest Global Investors S.A.S. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 3.7% in the fourth quarter. Comgest Global Investors S.A.S. now owns 674,669 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $130,204,000 after purchasing an additional 23,769 shares during the last quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% in the fourth quarter. Baird Financial Group Inc. now owns 310,477 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $59,919,000 after purchasing an additional 5,728 shares during the last quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC increased its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 24.4% in the fourth quarter. AQR Capital Management LLC now owns 833,805 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $160,916,000 after purchasing an additional 163,451 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Banco Bilbao Vizcaya Argentaria S.A. acquired a new position in shares of Ecolab in the fourth quarter valued at $530,000. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 74.17% of the company’s stock.
Several equities analysts have commented on the stock. UBS Group upped their price objective on shares of Ecolab from $165.00 to $200.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, April 29th. Stifel Nicolaus boosted their target price on shares of Ecolab from $164.00 to $175.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a research report on Thursday, April 30th. Zacks Investment Research cut shares of Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating and set a $204.00 target price for the company. in a research report on Wednesday, March 4th. JPMorgan Chase & Co. cut shares of Ecolab from a “neutral” rating to an “underweight” rating and reduced their target price for the company from $200.00 to $152.00 in a research report on Tuesday, March 17th. Finally, Seaport Global Securities reissued a “neutral” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 18th. Two analysts have rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have issued a hold rating and three have assigned a buy rating to the company. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $188.15.
ECL opened at $200.50 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a twelve month low of $124.60 and a twelve month high of $211.24. The company has a 50-day simple moving average of $182.15 and a 200 day simple moving average of $186.92. The company has a quick ratio of 1.15, a current ratio of 1.51 and a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.76. The stock has a market capitalization of $57.96 billion, a price-to-earnings ratio of 37.90, a P/E/G ratio of 3.82 and a beta of 0.99.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, April 28th. The basic materials company reported $1.13 earnings per share for the quarter, topping the Thomson Reuters’ consensus estimate of $1.06 by $0.07. Ecolab had a net margin of 10.32% and a return on equity of 20.12%. The business had revenue of $3.58 billion during the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.49 billion. During the same quarter in the prior year, the business posted $1.03 earnings per share. Ecolab’s revenue was up 2.2% compared to the same quarter last year. Sell-side analysts anticipate that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.06 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The business also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Wednesday, July 15th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, June 16th will be issued a $0.47 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 15th. This represents a $1.88 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 0.94%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is currently 32.30%.
In other news, EVP Angela M. Busch sold 1,800 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, May 12th. The shares were sold at an average price of $197.03, for a total value of $354,654.00. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 15,712 shares of the company’s stock, valued at $3,095,735.36. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Jill S. Wyant sold 72,606 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Monday, February 24th. The stock was sold at an average price of $204.02, for a total transaction of $14,813,076.12. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now directly owns 34,018 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $6,940,352.36. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Insiders sold 108,844 shares of company stock valued at $21,878,694 in the last three months. Company insiders own 1.22% 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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