Why Is Ecolab (ECL) Up 1.2% Since Last Earnings Report?

It has been about a month since the last earnings report for Ecolab (ECL). Shares have added about 1.2% in that time frame, underperforming the S&P 500.

Will the recent positive trend continue leading up to its next earnings release, or is Ecolab due for a pullback? Before we dive into how investors and analysts have reacted as of late, let's take a quick look at the most recent earnings report in order to get a better handle on the important catalysts.

Ecolab Earnings and Revenues Lag Estimates in Q2

Ecolab Inc. reported second-quarter 2020 adjusted earnings per share of 65 cents, missing the Zacks Consensus Estimate of 83 cents by 21.7%. Further, the figure declined 48.8% on a year-over-year basis.

The company’s quarterly net sales were 2.69 billion, down 15.3% from the year-ago figure. Moreover, net sales surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by 5.5%.

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 fell 1.8% year over year to $1.48 billion. Lower volumes in other Industrial businesses more than offset modest growth in Food & Beverage.

Global Institutional

Sales plunged 35.1% year over year to $722.4, owing to a steep decline in the Institutional business, which more than negated solid growth in Specialty business.

Global Healthcare and Life Sciences

Sales at the segment improved 21.7% year over year to $307.6 million, courtesy of strong performance that gained from higher sales owing to the COVID-19 related demand in both the Healthcare and Life Sciences business lines.


Sales declined 19.3% year over year to $247.1 million.

Margin Analysis

Ecolab registered adjusted gross profit of $1.16 billion, down 17.4% year over year. As a percentage of revenues, adjusted gross margin in the second quarter was 40.1%, down 400 basis points (bps).

Adjusted operating income in the quarter was $300.3 million, down 39.7% year over year. Adjusted operating margin in the quarter was 11%, which contracted 470 bps year over year.


The company has not issued either quarterly or full-year 2020 outlook due to the continued uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic and the full scope of its impact on the global economy and duration of the same.

On the basis of a gradual, although uneven, recovery from the first half of the impact of the pandemic, full-year 2020 sales in Healthcare & Life Sciences segment are anticipated to improve from the previous year. Modest pressure is estimated on Industrial segment businesses, while lowering but still substantial amount of pressure is expected 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.

Nonetheless, the company anticipates to see gradual sequential improvement from second-quarter levels in the second half with product and service innovation, investments in new hygiene and digital technologies, and successful sales initiatives driving a sustainable recovery in customer activity.

How Have Estimates Been Moving Since Then?

It turns out, estimates review have trended downward during the past month. The consensus estimate has shifted -13.75% due to these changes.

VGM Scores

At this time, Ecolab has a nice Growth Score of B, though it is lagging a bit on the Momentum Score front with a C. However, the stock was allocated a grade of F on the value side, putting it in the lowest quintile for this investment strategy.

Overall, the stock has an aggregate VGM Score of D. If you aren't focused on one strategy, this score is the one you should be interested in.


Estimates have been broadly trending downward for the stock, and the magnitude of these revisions indicates a downward shift. It's no surprise Ecolab has a Zacks Rank #5 (Strong Sell). We expect a below average return from the stock in the next few months.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.


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