July 29, 2004

Kirby reports record earnings, plans newbuilds

Reporting record net earnings for the second quarter, Kirby Corporation (NYSE: KEX) President & CEO Joe Pyne said the company plans to spend $41 million for the construction of 16 new 30,000 barrel petrochemical tank barges and 10 new 30,000 barrel black oil tank barges.

Kirby's net earnings for the second quarter ended June 30, 2004 of $13,778,000, or $.55 per share, compared with $11,789,000, or $.48 per share, for the second quarter of 2003.

The 2004 second quarter net earnings were slightly above Kirby's published earnings guidance range of $.50 to $.54 per share. Consolidated revenues for the 2004 second quarter were $170,876,000 compared with $158,739,000 for the 2003 second quarter.

Kirby reported record net earnings for the first six months of 2004 of $22,798,000, or $.91 per share, compared with $18,657,000, or $.77 per share, for the first six months of 2003. Consolidated revenues for the first six months of 2004 were $328,191,000 compared with $306,939,000 for the first half of 2003.

Marine transportation revenues increased 9% for the 2004 second quarter compared with the second quarter of 2003, while operating income increased 14% during the same period.

For the first six months of 2004, marine transportation revenues increased 9% and operating income increased 18% when compared with the 2003 first half. The favorable results were attributable to strong petrochemical and black oil products volumes, and normal seasonal refined products volumes, offset to some degree by weak liquid fertilizer volumes.

The diesel engine services segment's second quarter 2004 revenues and operating income were slightly above 2003 second quarter levels. During the 2004 second quarter, the Midwest dry cargo river market continued to improve and its operations were enhanced with the April 2004 purchase of the diesel engine services operations of Walker Paducah. The segment's rail market benefited from several large orders from transit customers during the 2004 second quarter. A continued weak Gulf Coast offshore oil service market, as well as weak East Coast and West Coast marine markets, negatively affected the segment's 2004 second quarter results.

"We are encouraged by the continued improvement in our petrochemical and black oil products markets," commented Pyne. "The petrochemical and black oil markets contributed 68% and 18%, respectively, of our 2004 first half marine transportation revenues. We are forecasting net earnings for the 2004 third quarter in the $.50 to $.54 per share range. This guidance compares with net earnings of $.46 per share reported for the 2003 third quarter. Our 2004 third quarter guidance is based on similar petrochemical and black oil volumes, as well as a normal refined products market and an improved liquid fertilizer market. The third quarter will be negatively impacted by the closure of the McAlpine lock on the Ohio River for major repairs for approximately two weeks in August. The lock closure will stop all waterborne traffic on the Ohio River with a destination upriver of Louisville, Kentucky, including Cincinnati and Pittsburgh. We estimate the impact of the McAlpine lock closure on the 2004 third quarter results will be approximately $.02 to $.03 per share."

Pyne further commented, "For the 2004 year, we are tightening our earnings guidance to $1.90 to $1.95 per share. This guidance compares with 2003 year net earnings of $1.67 per share. Capital spending guidance for 2004 remains in the $85 to $90 million range and includes approximately $41 million for the construction of 16 new 30,000 barrel petrochemical tank barges and 10 new 30,000 barrel black oil tank barges."

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