Morningstar Rating

Stock Research and Analysis

by Matthew Young, CFA

Bulls Say

Healthy U.S. petrochemical production should remain a tailwind for Kirby's inland marine transport business in the year ahead, driven in part by low-cost natural gas in the U.S.
The firm's coastal fleet utilization has recovered, with help from increased demand for the movement of shale oil to domestic refineries.
The Jones Act, which restricts domestic marine transportation to U.S.-based operators, protects the inland and coastwise barging industry from foreign competition. Read more 

Bears Say

Despite recent signs of demand improvement for new hydraulic fracturing equipment in the United segment, persistently low oil prices will probably keep a lid on customers' overall investment in drilling infrastructure.
The firm's coastwise and inland barging operations face intermittent service disruptions and other inefficiencies caused by adverse weather such as hurricanes, ice, and high or low water levels.
The U.S. inland waterway system is aging, with more than half of its locks and dams in excess of 50 years old--a factor that increases the risk of service disruptions for Kirby. Read more 

Management

David Grzebinski, who had been CFO since early 2010, recently stepped in as CEO following the retirement of Joseph Pyne, who took the reins in 1995. Overall, we consider management compensation to be reasonable compared with that of transportation industry   Read more 

Profile

In its flagship marine transportation segment (75% of sales), Kirby operates the largest fleet of tank barges on the U.S. inland waterway system. Since its incorporation   Read more 

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