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By Ben Johnson, CFA | 11-06-2009 04:19 AM

How Ecolab Aims to Clean Up in Hospitals

Demographic and reform trends, plus a higher awareness of hospital infection rates, make the health-care market attractive to this cleaning and sanitation firm.

Securities mentioned in this video
ECL Ecolab, Inc.

Ben Johnson: I'm Ben Johnson, equity analyst here at Morningstar, covering the chemicals and agrichemicals space. Today I'm joined by Susan Nestegard, executive vice-president of the Global Healthcare business with Ecolab. Thanks for joining me, Susan.

Susan Nestegard: Thanks, Ben.

Johnson: To start off, can you talk to us a little bit about the factors that make now an opportune time for Ecolab to focus on the health-care business?

Nestegard: Certainly we've been hearing a lot about health care in the news and in general the market is growing. Some of that growth is things that we have to control. There's basic growth in the aging population and in the demographics.

But the areas that we're focused on are all about infection prevention. Health care or hospital-acquired infections are not only the number four cause of death in the U.S., with 100,000 people dying each year, but they're a big cause of waste in the system. Essentially $30 billion to $50 billion is spent on these infections in the health-care environments.

Ecolab has been so successful in helping our customers address their food safety issues; it's a very logical transition to leaders in infection prevention.

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