I will now turn the call over to Joe Pyne.
Thank you, Steve, and good morning to everybody. Late yesterday afternoon we announced net earnings for the 2012 first quarter of $0.91 per share, reflecting a 52% improvement over the $0.60 per share reported for the same period last year. Our first quarter earnings guidance was $0.86 to $0.93 per share. In our first quarter results, there were two charges that were not
included in our guidance range: a $4.2 million before tax charge, or $0.05 a share, which was the earn-out charge pertaining to the United acquisition; and a $2.4 million before tax, or $0.03 per share, severance charge associated with the integration of K-Sea into Kirby. David’s going to talk about both these charges in more detail later in the call.
Our record first quarter earnings were the result of a continued strong demand for our inland tank barge business, a strong performance from our land-based Diesel Engine Service business and improved earnings from our legacy Marine Diesel Engine Service business. Demand for our coastal tank barge equipment was about as expected given the seasonality of this business and some continued overcapacity in the coastal tank barge fleet.
In April we changed the name of K-Sea Transportation to Kirby Offshore Marine, more fully integrated our coastal operation into the Kirby family of marine transportation companies. With this renaming, we have begun the process of rebranding equipment, the organization and the service. Jim Farley was named President of Kirby Offshore Marine, having previously served as the Executive Vice President of Operations for Kirby Inland Marine. David Grzebinski will serve as Kirby Offshore Marine’s Chairman as well as Kirby Corporation’s CFO. I look forward to working with both Jim and David as we more fully integrate Kirby Offshore Marine into our marine transportation business.