Elkhorn Investments LLC reduced its position in Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 6.1% in the 4th quarter, according to the company in its most recent 13F filing with the SEC. The fund owned 11,284 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 731 shares during the quarter. Ecolab comprises approximately 1.2% of Elkhorn Investments LLC’s investment portfolio, making the stock its 10th largest position. Elkhorn Investments LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $1,500,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.
A number of other hedge funds and other institutional investors have also recently bought and sold shares of ECL. Nationwide Fund Advisors raised its stake in Ecolab by 1.5% in the 3rd quarter. Nationwide Fund Advisors now owns 83,198 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $10,700,000 after purchasing an additional 1,208 shares during the last quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. grew its holdings in Ecolab by 5.2% in the 3rd quarter. Raymond James Financial Services Advisors Inc. now owns 39,446 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,076,000 after buying an additional 1,959 shares in the last quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. grew its holdings in Ecolab by 17.7% in the 3rd quarter. Victory Capital Management Inc. now owns 29,778 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,830,000 after buying an additional 4,468 shares in the last quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board grew its holdings in Ecolab by 38.8% in the 3rd quarter. Canada Pension Plan Investment Board now owns 44,010 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $5,660,000 after buying an additional 12,299 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. grew its holdings in Ecolab by 10.5% in the 3rd quarter. Candriam Luxembourg S.C.A. now owns 24,812 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,191,000 after buying an additional 2,366 shares in the last quarter. 78.34% of the stock is owned by hedge funds and other institutional investors.
In other news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 694,343 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Wednesday, March 7th. The shares were purchased at an average price of $132.10 per share, with a total value of $91,722,710.30. The transaction was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which is available at this link. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 442,519 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 9th. The shares were purchased at an average cost of $134.60 per share, for a total transaction of $59,563,057.40. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Over the last quarter, insiders have bought 1,143,262 shares of company stock valued at $152,146,056. Company insiders own 1.49% of the company’s stock.
Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, February 20th. The basic materials company reported $1.39 earnings per share for the quarter, missing analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.40 by ($0.01). The business had revenue of $3.65 billion for the quarter, compared to analysts’ expectations of $3.60 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.10% and a net margin of 10.90%. The business’s revenue for the quarter was up 8.9% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company posted $1.25 earnings per share. analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.35 EPS for the current fiscal year.
The firm also recently declared 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 dividend on an annualized basis and a dividend yield of 1.19%. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, March 19th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 31.91%.
Several analysts have issued reports on the company. Boenning Scattergood restated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday, January 22nd. Credit Suisse Group upped their target price on Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a report on Wednesday, January 24th. Canaccord Genuity set a $145.00 target price on Ecolab and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Monday. Barclays restated a “buy” rating and issued a $150.00 target price on shares of Ecolab in a report on Wednesday, December 27th. Finally, Citigroup cut Ecolab from a “buy” rating to a “neutral” rating in a report on Friday, January 5th. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and nine have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The stock currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus price target 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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