Baillie Gifford & Co. lifted its stake in shares of Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL) by 9.9% in the 4th quarter, according to its most recent disclosure with the Securities and Exchange Commission. The firm owned 47,528 shares of the basic materials company’s stock after buying an additional 4,283 shares during the period. Baillie Gifford & Co.’s holdings in Ecolab were worth $7,003,000 at the end of the most recent quarter.

Other large investors also recently bought and sold shares of the company. Eagle Capital Management LLC grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 1.7% in the 3rd quarter. Eagle Capital Management LLC now owns 22,668 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $3,554,000 after buying an additional 381 shares during the last quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 23.8% in the 3rd quarter. Robeco Institutional Asset Management B.V. now owns 90,586 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $14,200,000 after buying an additional 17,429 shares during the last quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 30.9% in the 3rd quarter. Dupont Capital Management Corp now owns 5,840 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $916,000 after buying an additional 1,378 shares during the last quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 10.5% in the 3rd quarter. Commonwealth Equity Services LLC now owns 48,316 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $7,575,000 after buying an additional 4,590 shares during the last quarter. Finally, ING Groep NV grew its position in shares of Ecolab by 49.3% in the 3rd quarter. ING Groep NV now owns 5,014 shares of the basic materials company’s stock valued at $786,000 after buying an additional 1,655 shares during the last quarter. Institutional investors and hedge funds own 75.61% of the company’s stock.

Several brokerages recently commented on ECL. Canaccord Genuity restated a “buy” rating and set a $186.00 target price (up previously from $160.00) on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Seaport Global Securities restated a “neutral” rating on shares of Ecolab in a research report on Tuesday, February 5th. Credit Suisse Group set a $154.00 target price on Ecolab and gave the company an “in-line” rating in a research report on Wednesday, February 20th. Zacks Investment Research lowered Ecolab from a “hold” rating to a “sell” rating in a research report on Wednesday, January 23rd. Finally, Citigroup lowered Ecolab from an “outperform” rating to a “market perform” rating in a research report on Wednesday, November 21st. They noted that the move was a valuation call. One analyst has rated the stock with a sell rating, ten have issued a hold rating and five have given a buy rating to the company’s stock. The company presently has an average rating of “Hold” and an average price target of $163.93.

Shares of Ecolab stock opened at $173.60 on Friday. Ecolab Inc. has a one year low of $132.25 and a one year high of $174.00. The company has a debt-to-equity ratio of 0.78, a quick ratio of 0.85 and a current ratio of 1.27. The stock has a market cap of $49.83 billion, a P/E ratio of 33.07, a price-to-earnings-growth ratio of 2.31 and a beta of 0.89.

Ecolab (NYSE:ECL) last announced its earnings results on Tuesday, February 19th. The basic materials company reported $1.54 EPS for the quarter, meeting the consensus estimate of $1.54. The company had revenue of $3.76 billion for the quarter, compared to analyst estimates of $3.76 billion. Ecolab had a return on equity of 19.44% and a net margin of 9.74%. The firm’s revenue for the quarter was up 3.1% compared to the same quarter last year. During the same quarter in the prior year, the company earned $1.38 EPS. Equities research analysts expect that Ecolab Inc. will post 5.91 earnings per share for the current fiscal year.

The company also recently declared a quarterly dividend, which will be paid on Monday, April 15th. Shareholders of record on Tuesday, March 19th will be issued a $0.46 dividend. The ex-dividend date is Monday, March 18th. This represents a $1.84 annualized dividend and a yield of 1.06%. Ecolab’s payout ratio is currently 35.05%.

In other Ecolab news, CFO Daniel J. Schmechel sold 9,799 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $169.93, for a total value of $1,665,144.07. Following the transaction, the chief financial officer now owns 171,040 shares in the company, valued at $29,064,827.20. The sale was disclosed in a filing with the SEC, which can be accessed through this hyperlink. Also, EVP Larry L. Berger sold 12,212 shares of the stock in a transaction that occurred on Friday, March 1st. The stock was sold at an average price of $170.35, for a total value of $2,080,314.20. Following the completion of the transaction, the executive vice president now owns 42,964 shares in the company, valued at approximately $7,318,917.40. The disclosure for this sale can be found here. In the last quarter, insiders sold 216,336 shares of company stock worth $36,768,482. Corporate insiders own 1.50% of the company’s stock.

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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.

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Institutional Ownership by Quarter for Ecolab (NYSE:ECL)

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