Ecolab Inc. (NYSE:ECL)
May 02, 2013 11:00 am ET
Douglas M. Baker - Chairman of the Board and Chief Executive Officer
Douglas M. Baker
Well, good morning, and welcome to our 2013 Annual Stockholder Meeting. I, welcome all of you. I would also extend a warm welcome to all of Ecolab retirees who may be here listening on the webcast. It's great to have you back, and I'm glad you remain interested in the company and what we're doing, because a lot of our success is really predicated all the work that you did building this company in the foundations. So welcome here.
I'd also like to do a reach out to any of the executive committee members that might be here or any other of the Ecolab Associates that are in the audience or listening. We have good news to report. We had a very good year last year and the reason we had a good year is we have a very, very good team. And the team has continued to focus on what matters most and that's making sure we take care of our customers, do it the right way, make sure that while we're taking care of customers, we're taking care of shareholders and the communities in which we serve. And I'm very, very proud to serve with the associates, the 44,000 strong team, that we have developed over the years. So all of you here, thank you, and you can see the senior team listed on the page.
With that, let me introduce the board. And I'll start by thanking 2 directors who are retiring from the board today, effective this meeting. And first is Scott O'Hara. And Scott is the former Executive Vice President at H.J. Heinz. And Scott served us with distinction and we appreciate it very much, Scott's counsel and support through the time. And also, Dan Sanders, who joined our board as part of the merger with Nalco. And Dan had served on Nalco board since 2005, and had been an early participant in even bring the energy services business to Nalco as early as 2001. It was really a terrific addition to our board. He served as our Governance Chair during his tenure with us and we really appreciated very much all of Dan's support and help bringing the companies together. And so we'll miss both Scott and Dan going forward.
So now let me introduce the nominees for the board going forward, and I will start little alphabetical order with Steve Chazen. Steve is on the slate for the first time and will be joining the board for the first time. And so Steve is President and CEO of Occidental Petroleum Corporation and brings a lot of industry background, know-how and history that is going to be very important, because as a result of the Champion acquisition, energy now represents over 25% of our portfolio i.e. the energy markets. And so having the addition of Steve on the team, on the board, is we think very important. And we're delighted that he has agreed to join the board and will be part of the board effective next meeting.
Let me also welcome Barbara Beck. Barbara is back up for re-election. We're all on annual elections. Barbara is the Chief Executive Officer of Learning Care core, a board member since 2008; Les Biller, Chairman of the Board, Sterling Financial Corporation, board member since 1997; Jerry Grundhofer, current Chairman of the Board of Santander Holdings and Chairman America's and retired Chairman and CEO of U.S. Bancorp. Jerry has been a member since 1999; Arthur Higgins, Consultant for Blackstone, previously a Senior Exec at Abbott, brings a lot of health care experience, as well as his broad business experience, been a board member since 2010; Joel Johnson, retired Chairman and CEO of Hormel Foods Corporation, board member since 1996; Michael Larson, Chief Investment Officer at William Gates and Manager of Cascade Investments. And Michael has been a board member since 2012 and a terrific addition to the board; Jerry Levin, who is our Lead Director, is also Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Wilton Brands, has a resume a little too long to go through at this meeting since we have a time commitment, board member since 1992; Bob Lumpkins, currently Chairman of the Board at Mosaic Company, part of that was Vice-Chair and CFO for a number of the years at Cargill, board member since 1999; Vicky Reich, former Senior VP and CFO of United Stationers, board member since 2009; And Meg VanDeWeghe, Chief Executive Officer and President at Forte Consulting, board member since 2011; and finally, wrapping it up, the, the John Zillmer, retired President and CEO of Univar and board member since 2006. And then myself, up for election too, so board member since '04. So that's the board slate.
And I'm going to have Jim Siefert come up. Jim is our General Counsel and Secretary. Jim's going to walk through a formal portion of the meeting where we're going to talk about the shareholder proposals and the votes. And then after that, I'm going to come back up, and I want to share with you results from last year's perspective on the future since old-time Champion and the rest on the business.
So with that, let me have Jim come on up. Jim?
Well, thanks, Doug, and good morning, everyone. Notice of this meeting was timely given to the holders of our common stock with more than 88% of the issued and outstanding shares represented. A quorum is present for the conducting of business. There are 6 items properly brought before the stockholders today.
The first item is to elect 13 nominees to the Board of Directors for a 1-year term, ending at the 2014 Annual Meeting. The second item is ratification of the appointment of PricewaterhouseCoopers as the company's independent registered public accounting firm for the current year ended December 31, 2013. The third item is to approve amendments to the Ecolab 2010 stock incentive plan. The fourth item is to approve, on an advisory basis, the compensation of the executives disclosed in the proxy statement. The board recommends the vote for each of the director nominees and a vote for items 2, 3 and 4 for the reasons set forth in the proxy statement. The fifth item is a stockholder proposal requesting the compensation committee to adopt the supplemental policy on stock retention requirements for senior executives. I now recognize the representative of the proponent to present the proposal. Meeting rules allows 3 minutes for your comments. Sir?
Good morning. I'm Eric Aziri [ph] presenting proposal #5, stockholder proposal requesting executives to retain significant stock sponsored by John Shaved [ph] in the Redondo Beach California.
Shareholders request that our compensation committee adopt the policy requiring that senior executives retain a significant percentage of shares acquired through equity pay programs until reaching normal retirement age. For the purpose of this policy, normal retirement age shall be defined by the company's qualified retirement plan that has the largest number of plan participants. The shareholders recommend that the committee adopt the share retention percentage requirement of 25% of such shares. The policy should prohibit having transactions for shares subject to this policy, which are not sales, but reduce the risk of loss to the executives. This policy shall supplement any other share ownership requirements that have been established for senior executives and should be implemented so as not to violate the company's existing contractual obligations or the terms of any compensation or benefit plan currently in effect.
Requiring senior executives to hold a significant portion of stock obtained through executive pay plans would focus our executives on our company's long-term success. A conference board task force report on executive pay stated that a hold-through-retirement requirements give executives an ever-growing incentive to focus on long-term stock price performance. Please vote to protect shareholder value proposal 5, executives to retain significant stock. Thank you.
Thank you. The board recommends a vote against this proposal for the reasons set forth in the company's proxy statement. The sixth and final item is a stockholder proposal requesting the Board of Directors to adopt a new political contributions policy, requiring political contributions to incorporate company values and requesting quarterly reporting on political expenditures. I recognize a representative for the proponent to present the proposal. Again, you have 3 minutes for the proponent's comments.
Good morning. I'm also representing NorthStar Asset Management in Boston, the beneficial owner of over 35,000 shares of Ecolab's stock. I'm here to ask for your support of resolution #6. Our company needs a policy to ensure congruence between what we stand for and what our funds support. The Ecolab brand is one of our company’s most significant global assets. Our public commitments to diversity and environmental stewardship exemplify Ecolab's values and priorities. These values are the cornerstone of our business decisions and are the foundation of our success and our industry. Why do our political contributions conflict with company values? Ecolab's website states that we believe it is important for the corporation and its associates to participate in the political process, which includes advocating for legislative and public policy decisions grounded in principles of sound science and free market enterprise to advance Ecolab's interest in promoting a cleaner, safer and healthier environment. Unfortunately, in the past 3 years, Ecolab's political action committee gave at least $175,000 of its funds to politicians that voted in ways that undermine Ecolab's stated environment priorities. Our company prohibits discrimination against any applicant or employee on the basis of many attributes, including sexual orientation. Why did Ecolab's pack make at least $198,000 of contributions to candidates that voted to limit the rights and freedoms of guy -- gay Americans? We do not seek to prohibit or restrict contributions and we recognize that not all political spending can be aligned with company goals. We simply request that management methodically incorporate company values -- we simply request that management methodically incorporate company values into their decision about which candidates or causes to support and disclose their rationale when the incongruities exist, so that the brand is not negatively impacted. At Ecolab, our stated company values emphasize and underscore our broader commitments. We insist that management reflects Ecolab's vision and values and electioneering contributions to avoid harm to the Ecolab brand. We ask you to vote, yes, for resolution 6. Thank you.
Thank you. The board recommends a vote against this proposal for the reasons set forth in the proxy statement. I will now open the floor for discussion on the matters to be voted on. Please limit your remarks to those matters. There will be a general Q&A period at the end of the meeting. If you have any comments regarding any of the 6 proxy items, please proceed to the microphone located upfront. After you have been recognized, please state your name, whether you're a stockholder or a proxy for a stockholder and the items you wish to discuss.
Seeing none, I will now proceed with the voting on the matters presented. The polls are now open and will remain open until any ballots cast during the meeting are collected. If you have already sent in your proxy, your shares will be voted as a you designate it on the proxy and you will not need a ballot. However, if you wish to revoke your proxy and change your vote, you may do so with the ballot. If any stockholder wishes to vote by ballot at this time, would you please raise your hand so that we can distribute a ballot to you.
I think, Pete [ph], there's a couple upfront. Give a few minutes to fill them out. If you're voting by ballot, please pass your ballot to the side aisles when you are finished. The polls will be opened when all the ballots have been collected.
I will now give you the parliamentary voting results based on the proxies already received. The 13 director nominees were overwhelmingly approved, with each receiving at least 90% of the votes cast. The proposals to ratify the appointment of the auditors to amend the Ecolab 2010 stock incentive plan and the advisory vote on executive compensation were overwhelmingly approved, with each of those matters receiving at least 93% of the votes cast. With respect to the proposal to adopt the supplemental policy on stock-retention requirements for senior executives, that proposal was not approved and received less than 24% of this year's cast in favor. Finally, the proposal to adopt a new political contributions policy was not approved and received less than 5% of the shares cast in favor. The final vote results will be reported to the SEC on Form 8-K, a copy of which may be found on Ecolab's website. This concludes the formal business portion of our meeting.
Before turning the meeting over to Mr. Baker, we'll first see a video. Let me note that remarks made during the following presentation by Mr. Baker concerning future expectations, plans and prospects for Ecolab constitute forward-looking statements under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Actual results may differ materially from those projected by these forward-looking statements. Information concerning factors that could cause an actual results to so differ, include those factors discussed in the company's annual report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2012, found under Item 1a Risk Factors. Thank you very much and we now have a short video to share.
Douglas M. Baker
Well, I have the great pleasure sharing with you some of the results from last year and also thoughts about how we're looking at 2013 and beyond. I'll start with a piece or a slide that I left you with last year, which was a statement that we like the position we're in. We're very much fully positioned well for the future and, we, as a team are committed to reaching our full potential. So if you look at '12, we feel we had a very, very strong year, particularly when you take the backdrop of a large integration. So we were able during this period to continue to drive the business forward. Sales and fixed currency grew by 7%, sales at public rates grew by 5% and our earnings per share were up 17% during the year. And, again, I would say we continue to deliver against our commitments publicly and we have now had 83 out of 84 consecutive quarters of meeting our committed results to the investment community. And that is one of the reasons that we have such confidence in the marketplace. And as we look forward, we believe we're in a position to continue this path. So last year, not only were the financial results good. We had a lot of work bringing Nalco and Ecolab together in creating one organization. So certainly, a lot of cultural work, driving the performance culture, the commitment culture across the enterprise, safety, taking a lot of lessons learned from the Nalco businesses and applying them across legacy Ecolab businesses, harmonization of policies, collocation of offices, driving innovation and leveraging the best of both companies in terms of technologies and a lot of progress there, making sure we remain focused on talent. It's the driver of overall results long term, customer focus, and ultimately, we know those things lead to winning in the marketplace.
If we look at some highlights. New business, we had another very solid year. So the blue would have been what would have happened without Nalco and the light blue on top is a cumulative effect, just so you have some perspective on history. So we had, obviously, a very strong year end obtaining new business selling over $1 billion net. So that means new customers, less lost customers. Innovation pipeline, which we measure every year, was also quite strong. And we were very successful in driving new launches of new technology in this measure. The $791 million you see at the top is the estimated 5-year sales of the technology we launched last year. All this led to another very strong year in terms of performance, both top and bottom line.
So the top chart is our sales chart, and obviously, a big boost as we acquired Nalco and that put on top of the traditional Ecolab sales pyramid. But we were also, again, successful translating sales success into earnings-per-share success, which is, really, in many cases, the art of management, and we have a very good team. All this good news translates, I believe, into a business that's well positioned going forward. And it's reflected in our stock price. So if you go back to the day that we announced the Nalco merger, our stock today versus that day is up 52%. The S&P 500 over the same time period is up 19%. And the materials index, which some people like to compare us to, I don't think it's the best comparison, maybe this is a demonstration of that, is up a whopping 1% during that time period.
Since Champion announcement, we are up 32%, 13 versus 13 S&P 500. So, obviously, big outperformance, and again, if you look at just this year, we're up 17% versus the S&P 500 11%. So I would just say, the good work from the team, the focus on the customers, the focus on driving innovation, focus on bringing cultures together shows up and translate into market value and we're being recognized and rewarded for by Wall Street.
Now this is not a new story, and so we showed this chart and it's always startling numbers. This company went public in 1957. And during that period, it would have been very wise to invest a few dollars in the firm in 1957. I was a year from being born so I've got a good excuse for the lack of foresight, but the cumulative return is 201,000% and it is over 189,000. These are kind of a hard numbers to get your mind wrapped around versus the S&P 500. Suffice it to say, the company's done very well for a long period of time and we recognize our job is to continue that great performance.
So as we look at the future, we like what we see as well. So we spend a lot of time trying to understand what's going on in the world. It's getting more complicated. But really, what -- what's about what's going on the world matters most to our business. So the first thing we do is establish our purpose. I mean this is to make the world, cleaner, safer and healthier, protect people and vital resources.
In the vision of driving this across the sheer industries that we serve is very important. We know that's the way that we help protect what's vital. When we look at the strategies designed to support our vision, it is certainly to continue the drive together as one company. We know we have a strong culture. This culture is the heart of our performance. And we want a unified culture across our enterprise, and then we're going to take this team and focus against driving share with the largest customers first, because they tend to grow faster than the rest of the market. They weather economic difficulties better than the rest of the market, and they push us, because when you're serving an Exxon, a Walmart, a McDonald's, a Nestlé, a General Mills, a Cargill or Hormel, they ask and push us on the technology. They push us on the service. They make us a better company.
We also want to continue to expand leadership in the fastest growth markets. So those are the obvious markets that we all talk about in terms of China, Brazil, India, Middle East, Africa, but it's also in key markets, like water, like energy and like health care. And then finally, continue to make sure that we have an efficient, effective infrastructure. It's very easy when you're in a business that's had a lot of success to take your eye off day-to-day management and that always comes with great cost and we work hard not to get full of ourselves and to keep focusing on what matters most and what got us here to begin with.
So when we look at global trends, we want to make sure that we are positioned. And the trends up here, these 8 are the ones we consider most important in terms of impacting the opportunities that our company is going to realize or see. So they're obvious ones, population grow. Today, we estimate there's 7 billion people on earth. It's going to 9 billion. Their diets are changing. Their economics shift. This growth, quickly is a 6 billion about 20 years ago to 9 billion, is going to drive the need for 100% more calories because of the shifts in diet, as people move from grains to protein. We know that growing food takes a lot of energy. It also takes a lot of water. There's a lot of water stress in parts of the world today, particularly the populations growing faster than water. We know water scarcity is going to become a bigger topic, not a smaller topic, and the population growth is going to drive energy demand, as well as food safety challenges. And these are all things that we are well positioned to get after.
One of the most important that we've been focused on recently is the energy demand equation. So certainly, it's being driven, not only from population growth, but also from the industrialization of a lot of the emerging markets. And as we look at the energy and water businesses, they are connected. It takes a lot of water to generate energy. It takes a lot of energy and water to generate food. These 2 issues are going to be very hot topics for a number of years. So being in a position to help industries, helps communities and help societies meet the demands for energy and clean water. We believe it's going to be important business and good business as we move forward.
Particularly, when you look at the energy equation, we know there's going to be ultimately continue to be a shift from traditional hydrocarbon, considered oil, to newer hydrocarbons, like gas and alternative energy, like wind and solar. But this is going to take decades. This isn't any fast fix and it's going to take a period of time. In the meantime, the demand for oil is going to continue, and old oil wells are drying up and being replaced by new oil wells. How has this been happening for generations? But the reason that's so important now is the new oil commands much more of the type of technology that we provide, which fundamentally are this. We help treat the oilfield to remove it from bacteria. We treat the fluid coming up the oil pipe so that it doesn't corrode the pipe and the infrastructure. We then separate the oil and water that comes out of the ground. We clean the water and we treat the oil. That's the business. The oil coming out of the ground now can be 100 parts water, 1 part oil. And you've got to separate it, and clean it and treat it so you minimize environmental impact and all the other associated challenges that the oil companies face.
We're also helping push on the natural gas front. And we believe natural gas is a huge environmental benefit and it's also a huge economic benefit, particularly in the United States. And we think frac-ing done correctly, ultimately, in the total equation, is a huge environmental benefit, because what you're doing is replacing coal and oil with a substance gas, which has 30% to 50% less carbon footprint. You just need to do it in a way that doesn't have unintended consequences as a result of the extraction. And we have technologies, which we believe minimize environmental impact so that you have a net benefit in terms of both cheap energy, economic expansion and better environmental story.
These are the things that we're working on.
The Champion acquisition basically enlarged our capabilities in these areas. It gave us a larger footprint but also gave us improved technology and talent where we need it. So we recently announced this after a long sojourn with government conversations, but at the end of the day, we believe we have a great addition to the Ecolab business.
So a quick overview, Champion is in a very similar business as our Nalco energy services businesses. It is similar technology, but some enhanced, both ways. It's got a little different footprint, bigger in North America, which is important, because a lot of the energy finds are in the North America. It just announced, I think, 7 billion gallons of oil has been found in North Dakota. I mean, it's staggering in terms of what's been found in North America in recent years.
Employees, locations, broad company and a very good company, and when you look at the complementary fits, whether its geographic market coverage, enhancing our ability to get after the fastest growing markets, leveraging, best-in-class technology from both businesses to have a combined portfolio, which is unmatched in the industry, and a complementary customer base, i.e. very little overlap in customer base between who Nalco sold and Champion sold. So this enhances our ability to cover the industry and make sure that our technology plays an even larger role going forward.
Most importantly, this business, both Champion and Nalco, share a philosophy in a business model, with what I'll call, legacy Ecolab. I can't believe legacy Ecolab invented this model, and the model simply is taking great technology, coupled with in-unit or on-platform or on-field service capability. The service team is designed to maximize the benefit customers receive from the technology provided. And it's a combination of those 2 that creates the magic at Ecolab, and the magic at Nalco energy and the magic at WPS and the magic at Champion historically. And that model is why we're successful running these businesses, because we understand them. We understand the technology. We understand how we drive value. And while we're providing service, we train, we collect information, we collate it and we give it back to the headquarter, so they understand what's going on in their operation.
So together, we think we have an unbelievable company facing the energy market, a fast-growth business running a traditional Ecolab model, providing, we believe, best-in-class technology and delivering outstanding results. Results we can all be quite proud of. So let me share this video that's been put together as we have formed the new business Nalco Champion.
Douglas M. Baker
So in the midst of a 12-city rollout bringing the teams together, it's going very well. We have a very clear plan on how we want to bring this company into the fold. I feel terrific about what the teams are doing here. I think you should too.
Now let me talk about our potential and how we look going forward. So we have kind of back-of-the-napkin principle in terms of how do we want to grow and position ourselves. The first is put yourself in the best position to win; so go where the growth is, position for maximum win. There's no reason to make business harder than it is. It's hard enough. So we want to make sure that we are where growth is going to be geographically, but also in terms of water, in terms of energy, food, safety and the like.
Next, you make sure you got a great team and make sure to focus principally on customers. It's why we're in business. The only way you can grow the topline is by convincing more customers to write you bigger checks. The only way that's going to work is if you create better value. And we need to make sure the team is by and large focused on doing just that. So delivering best-in-class value and making sure that we are going to be the market leader. We are not interested in being 2. We're not interested in being 3. We want to be in 1, #1 position in every business that we serve. That is the place that we're going to be most comfortable.
And finally, great environment needed to sustain excellence over the long term. That means developing people, making sure that we're investing in R&D, making sure that we're keeping our eye out in how the world changes around us. So with this, we understand that having the right vision is important. We believe we have it. It drives a number of key decisions. We have great businesses. We like the businesses we're in. If you look at it by strategy, say, food, remains the largest part of our portfolio, 34%; abundant energy is now 27%, with the acquisition of Champion; and clean water, 22%; healthy environment, 17%. We like that portfolio and we like the mix. We think it's very appropriate moving forward. And we've got a clear plan. We know there's still work to do to bring together the company and unite. I would say it was a wildly successful first year. But it's a 4-year initiative and so first year can't give you confidence that it's necessarily done, and so we are continuing to focus and make sure that we do the right things here.
While we're doing this, we want to continue to drive share with the largest players. We want to continue to develop leadership positions in the fastest market and make sure we create an effective and efficient infrastructure. It's repetitive, but that's how we focus and that's what we want to do. So this year, I would characterize off to a good, no, not great, but good start. So we announced earnings earlier this week. We announced it was sales up 2%, 3% if you exclude the divestiture principally of the vehicle care business. So not a great sales line, it's a little better than that underneath, which we talked to the investment community, but that's an area we're focused. Earnings per share were up a large 20% adjusted earnings per share. And that's the number we look at, reported earnings per share of like 300% or 200%. It's not the number, adjusted is the important one.
And as we go forward, we have a high expectation for the year and believe we're in a position to deliver it. So the full year, we expect 16% to 19% earnings per share growth is the forecast that we've given The Street, and that includes about 2 percentage points coming from the recently announced Nalco or Champion acquisition. So we're in good shape.
The team, I don't think we've ever had a stronger team. We're focused on the business. We're excited about our future and we're committed to doing the right thing going forward. And we appreciate all of your support because without shareholders, we would be nowhere. So thank you for your attention, your investment, and most importantly, your confidence.
So with that, I'll open the floor to question and answers. And I guess, I would remind everybody, one, if you could hold -- if you have questions or comments, to hold it to under 3 minutes, just for the consideration of everybody else and time. So with that, anybody, questions or comments?
Douglas M. Baker
Want me to go back to the slides?
Mark Bradley, regular stockholder and a regularly common person. In this case here, I would like to make the comment that you've been doing a great job managing the company and its growth. But one thing I would like to see is something I actually mentioned about 2 years ago at a stockholders' meeting, which is, looking at working towards the design for our factories, especially when they are in certain areas. And I think that the best way to do that is have a new division, not a big division, just a little division called design and manufacture that doesn't try to affect anything out of research but takes a look at what we have already. We have made great strides in energy, in going from regular incandescent to fluorescent. Now we're doing diode-type lighting, the same thing with water and everything else. What we would have this group do is actually look at the products we're manufacturing, see how they're doing. The manufacturers will see if we can do it better. And that way, we can design our factories forward. But we could also do a business-to-business at this point, because we could also then show many of our customers a better way because we've done the research ourselves in this type of way and are making these type of inroads in the profitability. And that way, then we can actually lead and actually assert our abilities that we are growing day-by-day with.
Douglas M. Baker
All right. Well, Mark, I would -- I agree with your sentiment and the thought there. So let me just share a couple of points. You're right. Our promise to our customers is not only are we going to provide you, say, the best food safety, but while doing it, reduce your footprint in water and energy. And we are now taking that same technology that we recommend, if you will, to our customers and applying it broadly in our over 100 manufacturing facilities around the world where we have established and exceeded very aggressive goals in terms of water footprint reduction and also CO2 footprint reduction by per-kilo produced. And so we are doing that. Secondly, we are bolstering our engineering group, which really is aligned to design our manufacturing facilities, understand how we drive cross learnings across the facilities. And so a lot of that work is going on simultaneously. So I think we are meeting the heart of your idea. We may be doing it tactically a little differently than the recommendation, but at the same time, I would say we agree exactly. We ought to be practicing what we preach and that's going to give us new insight in terms of enhancing our ability to meet customer needs, as well. So, I agree. Thank you. Anybody else? Going once. There we go, sir Marquart [ph] .
[indiscernible] 30 years, but how do you -- shareholders [indiscernible] with the performance that's been going ever since [indiscernible]. So congratulations, and keep doing a good job. Terrific. And one other thing I want to tell you is my share of the stock that I still have, have a basis of $0.03. So keep it going, will you?
Douglas M. Baker
Well, first of all, I know you're the former CFO, so I'll offer you $1 for them. Thank you, Ken. And I think we recognize that there's been a long legacy at this company. And the success that any generation has enjoyed is in large part due to what happened before, and there's a responsibility to continue. So we work hard to make sure that we aren't just delivering the year, but we're doing so in a way that positions us going forward. So thank you for the comments. And if you're going to have comments like that, you can go way over the 3 minutes.
I'm Betty Garrett [ph] and I'm a stockholder. And I've been retired 28 years. And I think it's just fantastic what the company has done. In those years, we're also-- my 28 years, watching you. And thank you very much, and keep up the good work. My shares are a little -- is a little bit higher than Kenny's.
Douglas M. Baker
Yes, $0.05. Thank you. That's great.
You didn't mention much of it today but I know the company has many accolades out there for its work in the community, it's many contributions to things outside the company where you manufacture, where every place we have offices around the world. I think the company still needs to be commended for all the accolades they get for what they do in that regard.
Douglas M. Baker
Great. Thank you. Yes, you're right. We didn't spend time on that, but it's a very important part of the business. And I think for sustaining business success, if you aren't giving back to the communities that support you, then ultimately, you're going to be eroding your foundation. And we have a terrific team, and I think, a great history of a number of our executives, as well as a number of our associates give back to the community, both financially, but I think even more importantly, with their time and talent. And so that's very important to us as well. So thank you for noting that.
Karen Rowley [ph], and I'm member of the stock group. And Ecolab is a stock that I have chosen to follow, and I've always made good reports to the group. But I do have a question about what Ecolab is doing about the problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and other creatures.
Douglas M. Baker
Yes, I don't know that we are doing anything per se because we're not in the antibiotic business. So if you get into the hand care arena, there's conversation. I would also say it's not always science-based conversation, because in many of, if you will, the products designed to kill bacteria or viruses on surface, act as not as poisons, but if you will, as like spears. And so you don't develop the same resistance. The issue is typically when you've got a cold mingling in the body and what you're basically trying to do is poison a specific cell, and when you do that, if you don't do it aggressively enough, then those cells can generate antibodies and thrive in that environment instead of die in that environment. So I think the hand care discussion's probably the only area where we have any overlap in this conversation. If you want to talk animal prophylactic antibiotics, it's not something that we sell. Different countries have different policies in that area. And that area, we really follow our customers and the government edicts, if you will, as we go forward. So the one area that might get scrutiny occasionally is antibacterial hand care. We believe that it's smart -- I'm not sure if you want to go into surgery with a surgeon who's using soap and not antibacterial soap. I don't personally. So that's our focus. I don't know if that answered your question.
That hand care is [indiscernible] alcohol-base [indiscernible].
Douglas M. Baker
Yes, if you get into the whole triclosan debate and the rest, we believe triclosan used in, if you will, food safety and medical arenas is smart practice. You could argue about triclosan's proliferation in other products and whether that's smart or not. But we use it in hand care designed for food safety and healthcare.
Anybody else? All right. We'll get back to the rest of our board meeting. We thank all of you, again, for your confidence and attention and interest, and hopefully see you next year. All the best.
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