Kirby CFO hints at more barge building ahead

APRIL 26 2013 — Growing U.S. coastwise demand could spur construction of new tank barges, Kirby Corporation (NYSE:KEX) Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David Grzebinski told analysts Thursday, during the company's first-quarter earnings conference call. He said that Kirby is in conversations with several customers "about potentially building new equipment."

"I would anticipate that the industry would need to build some new capacity here in the near term," he said.

Kirby's earnings for the first quarter ended March 31, 2013 were $56.6 million, or $1.00 per share, compared with $50.9 million, or $.91 per share, for the 2012 first quarter. Consolidated revenues for the 2013 first quarter were $558.8 million compared with $566.9 million reported for the 2012 first quarter.

Joe Pyne, Kirby's Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, commented, "We were pleased with our overall first quarter performance, the continued strength of our inland tank barge markets and particularly the improvement in our coastal tank barge markets where we are experiencing consistently improving equipment utilization and pricing."

Though more barge building may lie ahead, Mr. Pyne said that the company's 2013 capital spending guidance range "remains in the $190 to $200 million range, including approximately $115 million for the construction of 55 inland tank barges and three inland towboats, and approximately $10 million in progress payments on the construction of two new offshore integrated dry-bulk barge and tugboat units. The balance of $65 to $75 million is primarily capital upgrades and improvements to existing inland and coastal marine equipment."

Mr. Pyne, who has served as Kirby's CEO since 1995, also noted that he plans to step down from that role early next year, while remaining as an active executive Chairman of the Board. He said he has been in discussions with the Kirby Board of Directors regarding transitioning his CEO responsibilities to Mr. Grzebinski.

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