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Ecolab Announces Plan to Buy Back Stock

December 8, 2008

At Henkel’s request, Ecolab has filed a registration statement with the Securities and Exchange Commission that would enable Henkel to sell all 72.7 million Ecolab shares it holds. Ecolab and Henkel have also agreed to amend the stockholder’s agreement between the parties to facilitate the offering.

Ecolab further announced that it has agreed to purchase $300 million of its shares directly from Henkel in conjunction with Henkel’s sale of Ecolab shares. Ecolab will use existing cash balances, commercial paper and committed bank lines to fund the purchase. The purchase is expected to be accretive to Ecolab’s 2009 earnings per share.

“We have had a productive relationship with Henkel,” said Douglas M. Baker Jr., Ecolab's chairman, president and chief executive officer. “Through it, we expanded our global business reach and developed new and better opportunities to serve our customers. Henkel has been a strong and supportive shareholder, and we wish them well in the future.”

Henkel has held an investment in Ecolab since 1989. The investment originated as part of a transaction in which Ecolab and Henkel formed a joint venture in Europe, combining each company’s European commercial cleaning and sanitizing operations. Also at that time, Henkel sold its remaining worldwide commercial cleaning and sanitizing businesses to Ecolab. In 2001, Ecolab purchased Henkel's interest in the joint venture for cash. In August 2007 Henkel announced its intention to acquire the adhesives and electronic materials businesses of National Starch. In February, Henkel announced its intention to sell some or all of its Ecolab shares. More info: www.ecolab.com
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