HPM Partners LLC reduced its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 9.9% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The institutional investor owned 15,982 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 1,757 shares during the period. HPM Partners LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $2,145,000 as of its most recent SEC filing.
Other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the company. SeaCrest Wealth Management LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $125,000. Aevitas Wealth Management Inc. purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $133,000. Community Bank N.A. purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $140,000. Cerebellum GP LLC purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $174,000. Finally, Chelsea Counsel Co. purchased a new position in Ecolab in the 4th quarter valued at approximately $201,000. 78.34% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In other Ecolab news, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 694,343 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Wednesday, March 7th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $132.10 per share, for a total transaction of $91,722,710.30. The transaction was disclosed in a document filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III acquired 442,519 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction dated Friday, March 9th. The shares were acquired at an average price of $134.60 per share, for a total transaction of $59,563,057.40. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. 1.49% of the stock is owned by company insiders.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings data on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, missing the consensus estimate of $1.40 by ($0.01). Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.10% and a net margin of 10.90%. The business had revenue of $3.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.60 billion. During the same quarter last year, the business earned $1.25 EPS. Ecolab’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently disclosed a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 16th. Stockholders of record on Tuesday, March 20th will be issued a dividend of $0.41 per share. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.22%. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 19th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 31.91%.
Several equities analysts recently weighed in on the company. Robert W. Baird dropped their price objective on Ecolab from $144.00 to $143.00 and set a “neutral” rating for the company in a research note on Tuesday, January 23rd. Credit Suisse Group raised their price target on Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 24th. Stifel Nicolaus raised their price target on Ecolab from $140.00 to $153.00 and gave the stock a “hold” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 24th. Citigroup raised their price target on Ecolab from $140.00 to $144.00 and gave the stock a “neutral” rating in a research report on Thursday, February 22nd. Finally, Argus reissued a “buy” rating and set a $150.00 price target on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Thursday, February 22nd. One equities research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have given a hold rating and nine have assigned a buy rating to the company’s stock. Ecolab currently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $140.88.
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Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene and energy technologies and services. The Company’s cleaning and sanitizing programs and products, pest elimination services and equipment maintenance and repair services support customers in the foodservice, food and beverage processing, hospitality, healthcare, government and education, retail, textile care and commercial facilities management sectors in over 170 countries.
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