The firm said global Food and Beverage sales increased 6% and excluding an acquisition, first quarter fixed currency sales grew 4% in its first quarter results.
It reported good growth in agricultural, dairy and food, which more than offset modestly lower sales growth in the continuing weak protein markets.
Ecolab said it expected sales growth to improve in Q2 and for the balance of the year with further benefits from the innovation pipeline, better customer penetration and business development.
Q1 F&B growth
First quarter 2013 sales for the Global Industrial segment, when measured at fixed currency rates, rose 1% to $1.1bn led by solid Global Food and Beverage growth more than offset slight declines in Global Water and Global Paper sales.
Douglas M. Baker, Jr., Ecolab's chairman and chief executive officer said: "While the global markets remain mixed, with continued sluggish trends in North America and softer trends in Europe offset by favorable markets in Asia Pacific and Latin America, we look for improved sales growth and further double-digit earnings per share gains over the balance of 2013 and for the full year.
“Our product innovation remains strong as we continue to emphasize new and more effective products.
“Our large and well-trained global sales and service teams continue to provide our customers with the most effective and comprehensive personalized on-site service.”
Deal and targets
Ecolab recently announced it had purchased AkzoNobel's Purate business, which specializes in global antimicrobial water treatment technology.
With 2012 revenue of $23m, the Purate business provides patented, proprietary chlorine dioxide programs for use in a wide array of water treatment applications, said the firm.
The firm also set new five year environmental goals to improve the impact of its operations.
It will work to achieve a 5% reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, a 10% reduction in water use and wastewater discharge, and a 10% reduction in solid waste, per million dollars in sales.