Kirby Corporation (KEX)

Q1 2012 Earnings Call

April 26, 2012 11:00 AM ET


Stephen Holcomb – VP, IR

Joseph Pyne – Chairman and CEO

David Grzebinski – EVP and CFO

Greg Binion – President and COO


Alex Brand – SunTrust Robinson Humphries

Gregory Lewis – Credit Suisse

Jack Atkins – Stephens Inc

Kevin Sterling – BB&T Capital Markets

John Barnes – RBC Capital Markets

Jonathan Chappell – Evercore Partners

Ken Hoexter – Bank of America/Merrill Lynch

David Beard – Iberia



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Welcome to the Kirby Corporation 2012 First Quarter Conference Call. My name is Christine, and I will be your operator for today’s call. (Operator Instructions) Later, we will conduct a question-and-answer session. Please note that this conference is being recorded.

I will now turn the call over to Steve Holcomb, Vice President, Investor Relations. You may begin.

Stephen Holcomb

Good morning. Thank you for joining us. With me today are: Joe Pyne, Kirby’s Chairman and Chief Executive Officer; Greg Binion, Kirby’s President and Chief Operating Officer; and David Grzebinski, our Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer.

During this conference call, we may refer to certain non-GAAP or adjusted financial measures. A reconciliation of the non-GAAP financial measures to the most directly comparable GAAP financial measures is available on Kirby’s website at in the Investor Relations section under non-GAAP financial data.

Statements contained in this conference call with respect to the future are forward-looking statements. These statements reflect management’s reasonable judgment with respect to future events. Forward-looking statements involve risk and uncertainties. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated as a result of various factors. A list of these risk factors can be found in Kirby’s Annual Report on Form 10-K for the year ended December 31, 2011 filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

I will now turn the call over to Joe Pyne.

Joseph 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.

Our focus is to continue to enhance this service model with the objective of providing our customers the best and safest service in the industry.

Now our legacy inland tank barge business is performing well with favorable pricing trends. We anticipate this sector to remain positive based on the favorable outlook of the U.S. petrochemical and refining industry.

For the Diesel Engine segment, our legacy business is improving due to the overall health of it inland marine transportation customers and an improved Gulf of Mexico oil service market. For our land-based Diesel Engine Service business, with the current low price of natural gas incentive to drill for natural gas has declined but the incentive to find crude oil remains very positive due to the current high price of crude oil. This business is seeing a natural rotation away from natural gas to oil exploration. As this rotation occurs, there has been a pause in new orders for the oil service equipment as the market assesses its requirements. We are using this pause to further develop the service opportunities in this business.

When we purchased United it was our objective to apply a very good, well-tested marine diesel engine service model to land-based diesel engines. It is our intention to continue to build oil service equipment, but to more heavily focus on servicing this equipment rather than manufacturing it. Later in the call Greg will share with you some encouraging comments regarding remanufacturing service opportunities. Then I’ll come back at the end of the call and talk about the second quarter as well as the full year outlook.

Now I’m going to turn the call over to David, who will speak briefly about Kirby Offshore Marine’s markets and then Greg will update you on our inland tank barge business and the Diesel Engine Service markets.

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