Chemicals firm Ecolab will take another huge charge because of its Venezuelan businesses.
The company announced after the markets closed Tuesday that it would take a $120 million special charge to its fourth-quarter earnings. That is on top of the $155 million charge it took against third-quarter earnings for the very same reason — a currency devaluation problem in Venezuela that has gone downhill for months, also hurting firms such as Kimberly-Clark, Ford Motor Co. and Brink’s.
The announcement resulted in heavy trading on Wednesday of Ecolab stock, which closed the day down nearly 5 percent at $108.07.
Ecolab said the Venezuela bolívar devaluation will hurt its operating results by about 17 cents per share in 2016, officials said.
For months now, the Venezuelan economy has been dismal, with significant losses in gross domestic product and escalating inflation resulting in further devaluation of its currency.
Ecolab CEO Doug Baker said in a statement that Ecolab moving forward would “deconsolidate” all financial results from its Venezuela operations, which typically generate about $200 million in annual revenue.
“Continued deteriorating economic conditions and currency exchange control regulations have significantly limited the ability of our Venezuelan businesses to maintain normal operations,” he said. “We expect these conditions to remain challenging for the foreseeable future, and we are deconsolidating the operations to reflect our diminished ability to influence effective control over business operations in Venezuela.”
He added that Ecolab will continue the local operations of its Venezuelan businesses and continue to serve customers.
Negative foreign currency exchange rates for all countries could impact full 2015 earnings by 33 cents a share and 2016 earnings per share by 40 to 45 cents, Baker said. The negative exchange rates will “unfavorably [impact] otherwise very strong operating results.”
The company also said it expects its energy business to pick up in the second half of 2016.