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Ecolab 4th-quarter net income more than doubles

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) -- Ecolab's net income more than doubled in the fourth quarter, bolstered by strong sales from its global energy segment and Latin American growth.

The cleaning, food safety and pest-control services company earned $231.4 million, or 77 cents per share, for the period ended Dec. 31. That compares with $88.7 million, or 34 cents per share, a year earlier.

Stripping out restructuring charges, acquisition-related costs and other items, earnings were 89 cents per share. This met the expectations of analysts polled by FactSet.

Revenue jumped 65 percent to $3.05 billion from $1.85 billion. Wall Street forecast $3.04 billion in revenue. Global energy sales climbed 18 percent to $596 million in the quarter.

Shares of Ecolab added $1.72, or 2.4 percent, to $74.52 in afternoon trading. The stock has traded in a range of $58.75 to $75.97 over the last year.

Chairman and CEO Douglas M. Baker Jr. said in a statement that the quarter also benefited from softer results in the prior-year period for its water, paper and energy services businesses, as they dealt with increased raw material costs.

For the year, Ecolab Inc. earned $703.6 million, or $2.35 per share. That's up from $462.5 million, or $1.91 per share, in the prior year.

Adjusted earnings were $2.98 per share.

Annual revenue surged 74 percent to $11.84 billion from $6.8 billion.

Ecolab said Tuesday that it still expects 2013 adjusted earnings between $3.38 and $3.48 per share. For the first quarter, the St. Paul, Minn. company foresees adjusted earnings in a range of 56 cents to 60 cents per share.

Analysts predict 2013 earnings of $3.50 per share and first-quarter earnings of 65 cents per share.