2013 – First QuarterEcolab expects first quarter adjusted earnings per share in the $0.56 to $0.60 range, representing a 12% to 20% increase, compared with adjusted earnings per share of $0.50 a year ago. The first quarter 2013 will reflect an approximate $0.02 per share headwind from pension costs, $0.01 per share impact from the sale of the Vehicle Care business, and comparison against unusually strong results in the Energy sector in first quarter 2012. When compared with the first quarter 2012 performance, we look for the first quarter 2013 to show moderate consolidated fixed currency sales growth. However, we expect improved adjusted operating income and a lower adjusted effective tax rate to yield double-digit adjusted earnings per share growth in the first quarter.

Our detailed outlook for the first quarter 2013 is as follows:
   
Adjusted Gross Margins, excluding special gains and charges approx. 46%
SG&A % of Sales 34% to 35%
Interest expense, net approx. $65 million
Adjusted effective tax rate 28% - 29%
Adjusted EPS, excluding special gains and charges $0.56 - $0.60
Diluted shares approx. 300 million
 

We expect first quarter 2013 special gains and charges, including restructuring charges, Nalco integration costs, Champion acquisition related costs and the impact on our balance sheet of the Venezuelan currency devaluation to be a net charge of approximately $0.20 per share.

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