Earnings Reports

Kirby Reports Earnings Increase, O’Neil Named President

Kirby Corporation, in its first-quarter earnings announcement April 25, reported improved earnings and revenue compared to a year ago and announced that Christian O’Neil will be the company’s new president and chief operating officer.

The company reported net earnings of $70.1 million or $1.19 per share for the quarter that ended March 31, compared with $40.7 million or $0.68 per share for the same quarter in 2023. Revenues for the 2024 first quarter were $808 million compared with $750.4 million a year ago.

“We are off to a solid start in 2024,” David Grzebinski, Kirby president and CEO, said in the announcement. “Both of our segments performed well during the quarter, delivering improved revenue and operating income, and our team executed well despite weather-related delays in the marine transportation segment and continuing supply chain delays in distribution and services. We continue to see favorable fundamentals as 2024 progresses, and we expect steady quarterly earnings progression for the remainder of the year.

“In inland marine transportation, our operations were challenged by high winds, ice delays on the Illinois River, fog along the Gulf Coast and lock delays throughout the system,” Grzebinski continued. “Overall, delay days increased 22 percent compared to the fourth quarter of 2023. From a demand standpoint, customer activity was strong in the quarter with barge utilization rates running in the low to mid-90s throughout the quarter. Spot market prices were up in the low to mid-single digits sequentially and in the 15 percent range year-over-year. Term contract prices also renewed up higher with low double-digit increases versus a year ago. Overall, first quarter inland revenues increased 14 percent year-over-year, and margins were in the high teens range.”

Kirby Corporation conducts operations in two business segments: Marine Transportation, which includes tank barges operations throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway and along all three U.S. coasts; and Distribution and Services, which serves industrial markets including oilfield services, marine power generation, on-highway and other industrial applications.

In the first quarter, Marine Transportation Segment revenues were $475.4 million, while Distribution and Services Segment revenues were $332.6 million.

New President

O’Neil’s tenure as president and chief operating officer was scheduled to begin April 26 at the conclusion of Kirby’s annual meeting. In the new position, he will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of both business segments.

“With over 25 years with the company, spanning roles across various businesses, Christian brings a wealth of experience, a history of operational excellence and a strong customer focus that will greatly benefit Kirby and support our continued growth,” Grzebinski said.

O’Neil previously served as president of the marine transportation businesses since 2018 and has been with Kirby since 1997. He holds a Master of Business Administration from Rice University, a Doctor of Jurisprudence from Tulane University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Southern Methodist University.

2024 Outlook

Commenting on the outlook for the remainder of 2024, Grzebinski said, “We are off to a solid start in 2024 and have a favorable outlook for the remainder of the year. Our balance sheet is strong, and we expect to generate significant free cash flow despite high levels of capital expenditures this year and expect to use the majority of free cash flow for share repurchases. We see favorable markets continuing and expect our businesses will produce improving financial results as we move through this year.”