Ecolab (ECL) announced the company is increasing its first quarter 2010 dividend by 10.7%. The new quarterly dividend rate will equal 15.5 cents per share versus 14 cents per share in the same quarter last year. This represents the 18th consecutive annual dividend rate increase for Ecolab. The estimated 2010 payout ratio is 27% based on 2010 estimated earnings of $2.27. The 5-year average payout ratio is approximately 29%. The company maintains an S&P Earnings & Dividend Quality Ranking of A+.
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