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ECOLAB REPORTS 12 PERCENT FIRST QUARTER EARNINGS GAIN

 ST. PAUL, Minn., April 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Led by strong profit growth in its U.S. businesses, Ecolab (NYSE: ECL) today reported a 12 percent increase in earnings from operations for its first quarter ended March 31, 1993 to a record $13 million, or $0.40 per share, from $11 million, or $0.36 per share, last year. Including the cumulative effect of adoption of the new accounting standard for income taxes, net income per share was $0.55 per share. Sales for the quarter rose 3 percent to $241 million from $234 million last year.
 Pierson M. Grieve, Ecolab's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer commented on the results, stating, "The record first quarter operating earnings represent a very good start to 1993. We are especially pleased with the results from our U.S. businesses, as well as the close attention to costs which improved margins in the quarter.
 "These results reinforce our expectations for earnings growth in 1993, though we recognize the balance of the year will be challenging. The U.S. economy's gradual improvement is beginning to be reflected in our major domestic markets, but weak economies in important countries, including Germany and Japan, will continue to place a drag on our overseas results. We have undertaken actions to address these issues which, coupled with the continued development of our strategies to capitalize on our global market leadership, new product introductions and the aggressive efforts of our people, will enable us to produce another record year for Ecolab."
 Sales from Ecolab's U.S. operations rose to $187 million in the first quarter, up 5 percent from $178 million in 1992. The sales growth was led by the Pest Elimination, Textile Care and Klenzade divisions. Operating income rose 10 percent to $24 million from $22 million a year ago due to an improved product mix and tight cost controls.
 Ecolab's International sales were $54 million compared with $56 million last year. The sales decline reflects the inclusion of only one month of sales from the G. H. Wood janitorial business in Canada, which was sold in the quarter. Excluding G. H. Wood, International sales were $52 million compared with $48 million in the prior year. International sales benefitted from improved Latin American results, while Asia Pacific sales were slowed by the Japanese recession. International operations reported a $2 million loss for the quarter compared with income of $2 million in 1992. The 1993 loss included a $4 million pre-tax charge related to the G. H. Wood sale.
 Interest expense declined $3 million to $6 million from last year, reflecting the $173 million of debt repaid in 1992. Ecolab's first quarter provision for income taxes reflects the estimated annual tax rate of 37% net of a $4 million deferred income tax benefit arising from the sale of G. H. Wood. This compares to a 36 percent tax rate in the first quarter of last year.
 Ecolab's equity in the earnings of the Henkel-Ecolab joint venture declined to $1 million in the first quarter from $3 million in 1992, reflecting the difficult economic conditions in Germany and recession in the other major European markets in which the joint venture operates. Joint venture sales were $182 million compared with $203 million in 1992, or DM 293 million compared with DM 322 million in 1992.
 Effective January 1, 1993, Ecolab adopted the provisions of Statement of Financial Accounting Standards No. 109, "Accounting for Income Taxes" (FAS 109). The accounting change resulted in a one-time benefit of $5 million, or $0.15 per share, which was recorded in the first quarter to reflect the cumulative effect of the change in accounting on prior years.
 Ecolab is the leading worldwide developer and marketer of premium cleaning, sanitizing and maintenance products and services for the hospitality, institutional and industrial markets. For the year ended December 31, 1992, Ecolab reported sales of $1 billion and earnings of $64 million, or $2.05 per share. Ecolab shares are traded on the New York Stock Exchange and the Pacific Stock Exchange under the symbol ECL.
 ECOLAB INC.
 CONSOLIDATED STATEMENT OF INCOME
 FIRST QUARTER ENDED MARCH 31, 1993
 (Unaudited)
 (thousands, except per share)
 1993 1992
 Net Sales
 United States $187,180 $178,415
 International 53,621 55,607
 Total 240,801 234,022
 Cost of Sales 107,413 106,711
 Selling, General and
 Administrative Expenses 112,659 105,063
 Operating Income (Loss)
 United States 23,634 21,542
 International (1,819) 2,447
 Corporate (1,086) (1,741)
 Total 20,729 22,248
 Interest Expense, Net 6,417 9,616
 Income Before Income Taxes
 and Equity in Earnings of
 Joint Venture 14,312 12,632
 Provision for Income Taxes 2,909 4,510
 Equity in Earnings of Henkel-Ecolab
 Joint Venture 1,223 3,118
 Income Before Cumulative Effect of
 Accounting Change 12,626 11,240
 Cumulative Effect of Change in
 Accounting for Income Taxes 4,733 --
 Net Income $17,359 $11,240
 Income Per Common Share
 Income Before Accounting Change $0.40 $0.36
 Change in Accounting Principle 0.15 --
 Net Income $0.55 $0.36
 Average Common Shares Outstanding 31,531 31,272
 -0- 4/21/93
 /CONTACT: Michael J. Monahan of Ecolab Inc., 612-293-2809 or (fax) 612-225-3123/
 (ECL)


CO: Ecolab Inc. ST: Minnesota IN: CHM SU: ERN

DS -- MN007 -- 8620 04/21/93 10:26 EDT
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Date:Apr 21, 1993
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