Dudley & Shanley LLC lowered its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 1.4% in the fourth quarter, HoldingsChannel.com reports. The institutional investor owned 157,010 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after selling 2,300 shares during the period. Ecolab accounts for 4.7% of Dudley & Shanley LLC’s holdings, making the stock its 12th biggest position. Dudley & Shanley LLC’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $21,068,000 at the end of the most recent reporting period.

Several other institutional investors and hedge funds have also modified their holdings of ECL. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 0.6% during the 2nd quarter. Mutual of America Capital Management LLC now owns 31,834 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,226,000 after purchasing an additional 203 shares during the last quarter. GSA Capital Partners LLP purchased a new stake in shares of Ecolab during the 2nd quarter valued at $356,000. MML Investors Services LLC lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 15.3% during the 2nd quarter. MML Investors Services LLC now owns 7,437 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $987,000 after purchasing an additional 988 shares during the last quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 13.2% during the 2nd quarter. Harfst & Associates Inc. now owns 1,057 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $140,000 after purchasing an additional 123 shares during the last quarter. Finally, Cibc World Markets Corp lifted its holdings in shares of Ecolab by 34.4% during the 2nd quarter. Cibc World Markets Corp now owns 36,879 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $4,896,000 after purchasing an additional 9,443 shares during the last quarter. Hedge funds and other institutional investors own 76.60% of the company’s stock.

Several analysts have recently commented on the company. Boenning Scattergood reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Monday. Barclays increased their price objective on Ecolab from $135.00 to $145.00 and gave the company an “overweight” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. UBS Group increased their price objective on Ecolab from $147.00 to $148.00 and gave the company a “buy” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Jefferies Group increased their price objective on Ecolab from $130.00 to $140.00 and gave the company a “hold” rating in a report on Wednesday, November 1st. Finally, Royal Bank of Canada reiterated a “buy” rating on shares of Ecolab in a report on Friday. One research analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, eleven have given a hold rating and eight have given a buy rating to the company. Ecolab presently has a consensus rating of “Hold” and an average target price of $137.21.

Ecolab Inc. (ECL) traded up $0.59 during midday trading on Monday, hitting $140.34. The company had a trading volume of 1,543,081 shares, compared to its average volume of 1,068,871. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.89, a quick ratio of 0.83 and a current ratio of 1.23. Ecolab Inc. has a 52-week low of $118.10 and a 52-week high of $140.43. The firm has a market cap of $40,550.00, a P/E ratio of 31.61, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.06 and a beta of 1.05.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last released its earnings results on Tuesday, October 31st. The basic materials company reported $1.37 earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter, beating the consensus estimate of $1.36 by $0.01. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.05% and a net margin of 9.67%. The firm had revenue of $3.56 billion for the quarter, compared to the consensus estimate of $3.55 billion. During the same period in the prior year, the firm earned $1.28 EPS. The firm’s revenue was up 5.2% on a year-over-year basis. sell-side analysts predict that Ecolab Inc. will post 4.7 earnings per share for the current year.

The company also recently announced a quarterly dividend, which was paid on Tuesday, January 16th. Investors of record on Tuesday, December 19th were given a $0.41 dividend. This represents a $1.64 annualized dividend and a dividend yield of 1.17%. This is an increase from Ecolab’s previous quarterly dividend of $0.37. The ex-dividend date was Monday, December 18th. Ecolab’s dividend payout ratio is presently 33.33%.

In other Ecolab news, EVP Michael A. Hickey sold 19,300 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Tuesday, December 5th. The stock was sold at an average price of $137.54, for a total transaction of $2,654,522.00. Following the sale, the executive vice president now directly owns 43,262 shares of the company’s stock, valued at approximately $5,950,255.48. The sale was disclosed in a legal filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission, which is available through the SEC website. Also, SVP Bruno Lavandier sold 347 shares of the stock in a transaction dated Friday, December 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $134.77, for a total value of $46,765.19. Following the sale, the senior vice president now directly owns 7,615 shares in the company, valued at $1,026,273.55. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. Over the last three months, insiders sold 57,446 shares of company stock worth $7,886,307. 1.49% of the stock is owned by insiders.

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About Ecolab

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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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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