The 10-second takeaway
For the quarter ended Dec. 31 (Q4), Ecolab missed estimates on revenues and met expectations on earnings per share.
Compared to the prior-year quarter, revenue increased significantly and GAAP earnings per share shrank significantly.
Margins shrank across the board.
Ecolab chalked up revenue of $1.85 billion. The 13 analysts polled by S&P Capital IQ anticipated revenue of $1.98 billion on the same basis. GAAP reported sales were 17% higher than the prior-year quarter's $1.58 billion.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Dollar amounts in millions. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
Non-GAAP EPS came in at $0.70. The 17 earnings estimates compiled by S&P Capital IQ predicted $0.70 per share on the same basis. GAAP EPS of $0.34 for Q4 were 38% lower than the prior-year quarter's $0.55 per share.
Source: S&P Capital IQ. Quarterly periods. Non-GAAP figures may vary to maintain comparability with estimates.
For the quarter, gross margin was 47.6%, 270 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Operating margin was 12.3%, 120 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter. Net margin was 4.8%, 350 basis points worse than the prior-year quarter.
Next quarter's average estimate for revenue is $2.70 billion. On the bottom line, the average EPS estimate is $0.55.
Next year's average estimate for revenue is $11.85 billion. The average EPS estimate is $3.02.
The stock has a four-star rating (out of five) at Motley Fool CAPS, with 251 members out of 267 rating the stock outperform, and 16 members rating it underperform. Among 88 CAPS All-Star picks (recommendations by the highest-ranked CAPS members), 86 give Ecolab a green thumbs-up, and two give it a red thumbs-down.
Of Wall Street recommendations tracked by S&P Capital IQ, the average opinion on Ecolab is outperform, with an average price target of $61.20.
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Seth Jayson had no position in any company mentioned here at the time of publication. You can view his stock holdings here. He is co-advisor of Motley Fool Hidden Gems, which provides new small-cap ideas every month, backed by a real-money portfolio. The Motley Fool owns shares of Ecolab. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.