American Shipper

Kirby purchases 58 barges

Kirby purchases 58 barges

Kirby Corp. said it has purchased 58 inland tank barges for $34 million in two separate transactions.

   It acquired the stock of Coastal Towing, owner of 37 inland black oil tank barges, for about $19.3 million in cash. The price is subject to post-closing working capital adjustments. Kirby has been operating the Coastal tank barges since October 2002 under a barge management agreement.

   Kirby also announced the purchase of 21 tank barges from Cypress Barge Leasing for $15.0 million in cash. Kirby has been leasing the barges since 1994 when the leases were assigned to Kirby as part of Kirby's purchase of The Dow Chemical Co.'s tank barge fleet

   Both the Coastal and the Cypress purchases were financed through Kirby's $250 million revolving credit facility.

   'Kirby always prefers to own rather than lease whenever possible due to the tax advantages of ownership,' said Joe Pyne, Kirby's chief executive officer. 'We anticipate the two purchases will be slightly accretive to 2007 earnings per share.'

   Kirby said it expects fourth quarter earnings will be 5 percent to 18 percent higher than the same period last year and that earnings for the year will be up 31 percent to 35 percent over 2005.