If you've ever eaten at a restaurant or stayed at a hotel, you've probably come in contact with Ecolab's (ECL) products -- you probably just didn't realize it. Ecolab is one of the biggest names in the cleaning and sanitation business, serving the needs of the institutional and commercial maintenance departments across the globe. When hotels, restaurants, and dozens of other kinds of businesses want to keep clean, Ecolab is often the first name that comes to mind.
And dominance is sticky in the sanitation market. Because businesses stake their reputations on cleanliness they're less likely to switch to unfamiliar rivals, especially because of the relatively trivial costs of Ecolab's offerings and the dispensing hardware that many facilities already have installed. The firm owes a lot of its success to a highly-motivated sales force; because commissions are a big chunk of sales compensation, costs can scale up or down according to the firm's revenue generation.Ecolab ramped up its debt load when it acquired Nalco in 2011 to ramp up its exposure to the water treatment business. Even so, the firm is still in decent financial shape with plenty of liquidity available in the form of a $1.1 billion cash position and more than that available in open credit facilities. We're betting on shares of this Rocket Stock this week.
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