By Ben Fox Rubin
Ecolab Inc. (ECL) predicted downbeat earnings of 2013, as the cleaning products noted a delay in closing its deal for Champion Technologies.
The company said it expects 2013 adjusted earnings of $3.38 to $3.48 a share, below estimates of $3.64 from analysts polled by Thomson Reuters. Ecolab also backed its 2012 guidance.
Shares fell 2.7% premarket to $71.90. As of Monday's close, the stock was up 14% over the past three months.
Ecolab--a provider of cleaning, sanitation and pest-control products--plans to buy chemical maker Champion Technologies for about $2.16 billion, with the deal pushing the company deeper into the chemical market for the energy industry.
As previously disclosed, the Champion deal's closing was expected to close by the end of last year but remains subject to certain approvals. The deal had been expected to benefit 2013 earnings by 12 cents a share, but that benefit isn't included in the company's 2013 earnings estimate. Ecolab said it remains confident that the deal will close in early 2013, but said the benefit to this year's earnings will be lower than previously forecast when the deal closes.
In October, the company said its third-quarter earnings jumped as a surge in its revenue overshadowed a sharp rise in input costs and other expenses.
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