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Ecolab Delivers Strong Fourth Quarter

Stocks in this article: ECL

Reported first quarter 2012 diluted earnings per share of $0.17 included special gains and charges and discrete tax items. Excluding these items, first quarter 2012 adjusted diluted earnings per share were $0.50.

Champion Transaction Update Ecolab continues to expect the closing of the Champion acquisition to occur in the first quarter, subject to regulatory clearance, including clearance under the Hart-Scott Rodino Antitrust Improvements Act (“HSR”), and other customary closing conditions. Ecolab and Champion remain in active and ongoing discussions with the U.S. Department of Justice regarding its review of our HSR filing relating to the acquisition. Discussions have continued to progress. While we believe that we are close to resolving the Department of Justice’s remaining issues, it remains possible that the Champion acquisition will not be completed in the targeted time frame, or at all.

About EcolabA trusted partner at more than one million customer locations, Ecolab (ECL) is the global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services that protect people and vital resources. With 41,000 associates and 2012 sales of $12 billion, Ecolab delivers comprehensive solutions and on-site service to ensure safe food, maintain clean environments, optimize water and energy use and improve operational efficiencies for customers in the food, healthcare, energy, hospitality and industrial markets in more than 170 countries around the world. For more Ecolab news and information, visit www.ecolab.com.

Ecolab will host a live webcast to review the fourth quarter earnings announcement and earnings guidance today at 1:00 p.m. Eastern Time. The webcast, along with related presentation slides, will be available to the public on Ecolab's website at www.ecolab.com/investor. A replay of the webcast and related materials will be available at that site. Listening to the webcast requires Internet access, the Windows Media Player or other compatible streaming media player.

Cautionary Statements Regarding Forward-Looking InformationThis communication contains certain statements relating to future events and our intentions, beliefs, expectations and predictions for the future which are forward-looking statements as that term is defined in the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words or phrases such as “will likely result,” “are expected to,” “will continue,” “is anticipated,” “we believe,” “we expect,” “estimate,” “project,” “may,” “will,” “intend,” “plan,” “believe,” “target,” “forecast” (including the negative or variations thereof) or similar terminology used in connection with any discussion of future plans, actions or events generally identify forward-looking statements. These forward-looking statements include, but are not limited to, statements regarding our financial and business prospects, including forecasted 2013 first quarter and full year business results, including sales, adjusted gross margin, SG&A ratios to sales, interest expense, adjusted effective tax rate, special gains and charges, including restructuring charges, Nalco integration costs and Champion acquisition-related costs, impact of the Venezuela currency devaluation, adjusted operating income, and adjusted diluted earnings per share; shares outstanding; expected accretion from the pending Champion acquisition; the Champion closing; economic and market conditions; raw material costs; pension expense and interest rates; sales growth; new accounts; new product introductions; product and service solutions; cost savings and acquisition synergies; and margin improvement. These statements are based on the current expectations of management of the company. There are a number of risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from the forward-looking statements included in this communication. In particular, the ultimate results of any restructuring, integration and business improvement actions, including cost synergies, depend on a number of factors, including the development of final plans, the impact of local regulatory requirements regarding employee terminations, the time necessary to develop and implement the restructuring and other business improvement initiatives and the level of success achieved through such actions in improving competitiveness, efficiency and effectiveness. In addition, as it relates to the Champion acquisition, these risks and uncertainties include (i) the risk that the regulatory approvals or clearances required for the acquisition may not be obtained, or that required regulatory approvals may delay the acquisition or result in the imposition of conditions that could have a material adverse effect on the company or cause the company to abandon the acquisition, (ii) the risk that the conditions to the closing of the acquisition may not be satisfied, (iii) the risk that a material adverse change, event or occurrence may affect the company or Champion prior to the closing of the acquisition and may delay the acquisition or cause the company to abandon the acquisition, (iv) problems that may arise in successfully integrating the businesses of the company and Champion, which may result in the combined business not operating as effectively and efficiently as expected, (v) the possibility that the acquisition may involve unexpected costs, unexpected liabilities or unexpected delays, (vi) the risk that the credit ratings of the company may be different from what the company currently expects, (vii) the risk that the businesses of the company or Champion may suffer as a result of uncertainty surrounding the acquisition and (viii) the risk that disruptions from the transaction will harm relationships with customers, employees and suppliers.

Additional risks and uncertainties that may affect operating results and business performance are set forth under Item 1A of our most recent Form 10-Q, our current report on Form 8-K filed October 12, 2012 and the company’s other public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (the “SEC”) and include our ability to integrate Nalco and realize the anticipated benefits of the merger as well as to close and integrate the proposed acquisition of Champion; our ability to attract and retain high caliber management talent to lead our business; difficulty in procuring raw materials or fluctuations in raw material costs; our ability to execute key business initiatives; vitality of the markets we serve; the impact of worldwide economic factors such as the worldwide economy, credit markets, interest rates and foreign currency risk; exposure to economic, political and legal risks related to our international operations; the costs and effects of complying with laws and regulations relating to the environment and to the manufacture, storage, distribution, sale and use of our products; changes in laws, regulations or accounting standards; our ability to develop competitive advantages through innovation; our substantial indebtedness; information technology systems failures; the ability to acquire complementary businesses and to effectively integrate such businesses; restraints on pricing flexibility due to contractual obligations; pressure on operations from consolidation of customers, vendors or competitors; public health epidemics; potential losses arising from the impairment of goodwill or other assets; potential loss of deferred tax assets; the occurrence of litigation or claims, including related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill; acts of war, terrorism, severe weather or natural or man-made disasters; the loss or insolvency of a major customer, supplier or distributor; and other uncertainties or risks reported from time to time in our reports to the Securities and Exchange Commission. In light of these risks, uncertainties, assumptions and factors, the forward-looking events discussed in this communication may not occur. We caution that undue reliance should not be placed on Forward-Looking Statements, which speak only as of the date made. Ecolab does not undertake, and expressly disclaims, any duty to update any forward-looking statement whether as a result of new information, future events or changes in expectations, except as required by law.

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