“Continued solid fixed currency growth by our institutional, industrial and other segments led results and outpaced lackluster global end markets," said CEO Doug Baker. "New business wins, new products and a focus on sales execution, along with pricing and cost efficiencies, drove the segment gains. The Energy segment continued to stabilize, delivering fourth quarter sales and operating income that were sequentially the same as the third quarter."
Specifically, global industrial fixed currency sales rose 2%, led by strong gains in paper, with modest increases in food & beverage and water. Latin America led the global industrial regional growth, with modest gains in North America. Acquisition adjusted fixed currency operating income rose 5% as improved volume and mix, pricing and cost savings initiatives more than offset modestly higher delivered product costs. Global institutional fixed currency sales grew 5%, with results led by specialty and healthcare businesses. Sales for the segment showed good growth in Latin America and North America.
“We have performed well over the past two years through a very challenging business environment, defined by slow overall global growth, a strengthening dollar and substantial declines in the energy market," said Baker. "While our results were dramatically impacted by both currency and energy markets, our businesses have continued to execute well. We have outperformed our markets and key global competitors as we built share through our sales and innovation efforts, improved our margins and grew earnings while at the same time making the critical investments that will drive our future growth."
Ecolab said it will deliver more "Ecolab-like" results in 2017.
"While we believe global economic growth will remain sluggish, we expect the energy market to stabilize around current levels and currency translation challenges to moderate," the company predicted.