Ecolab executives expressed confidence about the new year after reporting a 54-percent jump in fourth-quarter profit.
Net income was $571.7 million, or $1.93, for the quarter ended Dec. 31. That’s up from $372 million, or $1.24, in the same period last year. Sales were up 9 percent to $3.7 billion.
The results met Wall Street analysts’ expectations.
“We enter 2018 in a strong position, with strong sales momentum and compelling growth opportunities,” CEO Doug Baker said in a statement. “While we expect a good global economic environment in 2018, we also expect continued inflationary pressure, primarily in the cost of our raw materials. We believe our current pricing momentum and new products and programs will enable us to more than offset the cost pressure, expand margins and drive double-digit earnings per share growth.”
The St. Paul-based company expects growth this year in every segment and forecasts 2018 earnings per share to be $5.25 to $5.45, up 12 to 16 percent. The company already has said the lowered corporate tax rate would add 10 cents to its earnings per share for this year.
Baker said the company would continue to invest in information technology systems to help make its operations more efficient.