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Ecolab (ECL) Q1 Earnings and Revenues Surpass Estimates

Zacks Equity Research

Ecolab Inc. ECL reported first-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings per share of $1.13, beating the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.07. Further, adjusted EPS improved 9.7% on a year-over-year basis.

This Zacks Rank #3 (Hold) company’s quarterly net sales amounted to $3.58 billion, up 2.2% from the year-ago figure. Moreover, net sales outpaced the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $3.50 billion by 2.3%.

Segmental Analysis

With effect from the first quarter, the company has made modifications to the way it reports its segments, as discussed below.

Global Industrial

Sales at the segment grew 3.3% year over year to $1.44 billion, driven by solid growth in Food & Beverage and favorable performance in Downstream and Paper divisions.

Global Institutional

Sales improved 5.1% year over year to $1.07 billion, led by robust growth in the Specialty business.

Ecolab Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

 

Ecolab Inc. Price, Consensus and EPS Surprise

Ecolab Inc. price-consensus-eps-surprise-chart | Ecolab Inc. Quote

Global Healthcare and Life Sciences

Sales at the segment rose 8.5% year over year to $246.2 million, driven by strong performance in Life Sciences.

Upstream Energy

Sales at the segment declined 3.3% year over year to $562.7 million. Per management, sales dropped owing to a significant decline in the well-stimulation business. However, higher production sales partially offset the downside.

Other

Sales increased 1.1% year over year to $277.8 million.

Margin Analysis

Ecolab registered adjusted gross profit of $1.47 billion, up 0.2% year over year. As a percentage of revenues, adjusted gross margin in the first quarter was 41.1%, up 60 basis points (bps).

Adjusted operating income in the quarter was $461.8 million, up 12.5% year over year. Adjusted operating margin in the quarter was 12.9%, which expanded 120 bps year over year.

Guidance

The company has suspended quarterly and full-year 2020 outlook due to the uncertainty surrounding the global pandemic and the duration of the same.

However, per management, sales in Healthcare & Life Sciences segment are anticipated to improve from the previous year. Modest pressure is estimated on Industrial segment businesses and a substantial amount of pressure on sales in Institutional and Other segments.

The pandemic’s impact on restaurant, hospitality, and entertainment is expected to result in a noticeable decrease for the Institutional division within the Institutional unit and Pest Elimination for the year and more substantially in the second quarter.

A much more significant impact from the COVID-19-induced crisis is projected to be witnessed in the second quarter. Nonetheless, the company anticipates to see gradual improvement in the second half with the start of recovery of markets and the demand for cleaning and sanitizing remaining above normal.

Wrapping Up

Ecolab exited the first quarter on a strong note. The company witnessed growth across four of its business segments in the quarter under review. Expansion of margins is also a positive.

However, the company has taken the decision to suspend quarterly and full-year 2020 guidance in view of the prevailing uncertainty due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Picks

Some better-ranked stocks in the broader medical space are Exact Sciences Corporation EXAS, ViewRay, Inc. VRAY and ResMed Inc. RMD, each carrying a Zacks Rank of 2 (Buy). You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank (Strong Buy) stocks here.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for Exact Sciences’s first-quarter 2020 revenues is pegged at $350.2 million, suggesting a whopping year-over-year improvement of 116.1%. The same for EPS stands at a loss of 60 cents, indicating an improvement of9.1% from the prior-year quarter.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ViewRay’s first-quarter 2020 earnings per share stands at a loss of 20 cents, suggesting an improvement of 41.8% from the year-ago period.

The Zacks Consensus Estimate for ResMed’s third-quarter fiscal 2020 revenues is pegged at $715.6 million, suggesting year-over-year improvement of 8.1%. The same for EPS stands at $1.00, indicating growth of 12.4% from the year-ago reported figure.

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