Dale DuPont has been a correspondent for WorkBoat since 1998. She has worked at daily and weekly newspapers in Texas, Maryland, and most recently as a business writer and editor at The Miami Herald, covering the cruise, marine and other industries. She and her husband once owned a weekly newspaper in Cooperstown, N.Y., across the alley from the Baseball Hall of Fame. A South Florida resident, she enjoys sailing on Biscayne Bay, except in hurricane season.
Kirby’s buying spree continues
December 11, 2012
Corp. may not be satisfied until it scoops up every U.S.-flag coastal tank
barge transporter. That’s the message I got with Kirby’s recently announced deal
to buy Penn Maritime Inc. for $295
million. The deal tops off two years of acquisitions totaling over $1 billion that makes the
Houston-based domestic tank barge giant an even more formidable coastwise
And it's likely that Kirby is not done yet, with other operators on its radar.
Penn purchase includes 18 double-hull heated ocean tank barges and 16 tugs. Twelve
of Penn’s tug-barge units are modern ATBs. Stamford, Conn.-based Penn is the
largest coastal transporter of liquid asphalt, fuel oil, and feedstocks in the U.S.
The Penn purchase comes on heels of the September deal where Kirby agreed to
the $116 million acquisition of Allied
Transportation Co. with its fleet of 10 coastwise tank barges, three offshore
dry-bulk barges and seven tugs.
year, Kirby bought K-Sea Transportation
Partners for $600 million and got 58 coastal tank barges and 63 tugs, and
also acquired Seaboats Inc.’s three
coastwise tug-and-barge units for $42.3 million.
addition of Penn increases Kirby’s coastwise capacity by 39 percent to 6.8
million bbls. This gives them about a one-third share of the offshore/coastal
market — similar to its share of the inland barge business, John Larkin, an
analyst with Stifel Nicolaus, said
in a note. So what’s next for Kirby? Well, the next largest coastal player is
privately held Vane Brothers,
headquartered in Baltimore. Vane has a fleet of 30 tugs and 45 barges, and two
140,000-bbl. ATB units.
still has $185 million of credit left, but “there most likely will not be any
major acquisitions in the near-term, and if there are, they will likely be
smaller” than the Penn deal, Larkin noted. Kirby may take a short-term
breather, but in the long term, I expect Kirby to cut more deals and continue
to consolidate the coastal petroleum transport market.