Neuberger Berman Group LLC Cuts Holdings in Ecolab (ECL)

Neuberger Berman Group LLC cut its stake in Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) by 5.0% during the 1st quarter, according to its most recent Form 13F filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). The firm owned 263,619 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 13,781 shares during the quarter. Neuberger Berman Group LLC owned about 0.09% of Ecolab worth $36,135,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

A number of other large investors also recently added to or reduced their stakes in the business. BlackRock Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.5% during the fourth quarter. BlackRock Inc. now owns 15,713,077 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $2,108,380,000 after acquiring an additional 226,031 shares in the last quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 3.7% during the fourth quarter. Clearbridge Investments LLC now owns 5,745,837 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $770,976,000 after acquiring an additional 207,345 shares in the last quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.9% during the fourth quarter. C WorldWide Group Holding A S now owns 3,842,375 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $515,570,000 after acquiring an additional 73,309 shares in the last quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 1.2% during the fourth quarter. Wells Fargo & Company MN now owns 2,796,556 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $375,243,000 after acquiring an additional 34,370 shares in the last quarter. Finally, Jensen Investment Management Inc. grew its stake in shares of Ecolab by 0.5% during the fourth quarter. Jensen Investment Management Inc. now owns 2,534,985 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $340,144,000 after acquiring an additional 13,405 shares in the last quarter. 76.21% of the stock is currently owned by institutional investors.

Ecolab opened at $145.63 on Thursday, MarketBeat reports. The stock has a market capitalization of $42.27 billion, a P/E ratio of 31.05, a PEG ratio of 2.17 and a beta of 0.99. Ecolab has a one year low of $125.74 and a one year high of $150.46. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.83, a current ratio of 1.15 and a quick ratio of 0.77.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last posted its quarterly earnings results on Tuesday, May 1st. The basic materials company reported $0.91 EPS for the quarter, topping the Zacks’ consensus estimate of $0.89 by $0.02. The business had revenue of $3.47 billion during the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.38 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.01% and a net margin of 10.62%. The company’s revenue for the quarter was up 9.8% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same period last year, the firm earned $0.80 earnings per share. analysts predict that Ecolab will post 5.4 EPS for the current year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, July 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, June 19th will be paid a $0.41 dividend. The ex-dividend date of this dividend is Monday, June 18th. This represents a $1.64 dividend on an annualized basis and a yield of 1.13%. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio (DPR) is 34.97%.

In related news, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 113,768 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Wednesday, March 14th. The stock was bought at an average cost of $136.89 per share, for a total transaction of $15,573,701.52. The purchase was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which can be accessed through the SEC website. Also, major shareholder William H. Gates III bought 491,499 shares of the firm’s stock in a transaction on Friday, March 16th. The stock was bought at an average price of $136.83 per share, with a total value of $67,251,808.17. The disclosure for this purchase can be found here. Insiders purchased 1,848,529 shares of company stock valued at $248,579,565 over the last quarter. Insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have recently weighed in on the company. Zacks Investment Research upgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating and set a $148.00 target price for the company in a research note on Monday, March 26th. Credit Suisse Group raised their target price on Ecolab from $129.00 to $137.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, January 24th. Nomura raised their target price on Ecolab from $125.00 to $136.00 and gave the company a “neutral” rating in a research note on Thursday, April 19th. ValuEngine upgraded Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “buy” rating in a research note on Tuesday, April 17th. Finally, JPMorgan Chase & Co. downgraded Ecolab from an “overweight” rating to a “neutral” rating in a research note on Wednesday, May 2nd. One investment analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, nine have issued a hold rating and eleven have assigned a buy rating to the stock. Ecolab currently has an average rating of “Hold” and a consensus target price of $144.22.

About Ecolab

Ecolab Inc provides water, hygiene, and energy technologies and services for customers worldwide. The company operates through Global Industrial, Global Institutional, and Global Energy segments. The Global Industrial segment provides water treatment and process applications, and cleaning and sanitizing solutions primarily to large industrial customers within the manufacturing, food and beverage processing, chemical, mining and primary metals, power generation, pulp and paper, and commercial laundry industries.

Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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