Ecolab sales helped by H1N1 flu fears

Ecolab‘s profits stayed healthy in the third quarter, thanks in part to public fears about the H1N1 swine flu.

The company reported third-quarter results this morning. Net sales fell by 5 percent to $1.5 billion. Net income, however, increased 15 percent to $145 million because of cost-cutting and pricing, Ecolab said.

CEO Doug Baker said the company’s business mix has provided stability during the recession. Customers in lodging and food service have cut back, but it’s seen increased demand for sanitizer because of H1N1 concerns.

“The quarter was on track, reflecting our focus on new business growth, appropriate pricing and structural cost improvement to offset soft market conditions and yield the strong earnings gain,” Baker said.

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