Financial Contrast: Kirby (KEX) versus Its Competitors

Kirby (NYSE: KEX) is one of 24 publicly-traded companies in the “Water transportation” industry, but how does it weigh in compared to its peers? We will compare Kirby to similar businesses based on the strength of its profitability, valuation, risk, earnings, institutional ownership, analyst recommendations and dividends.


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This table compares Kirby and its peers’ net margins, return on equity and return on assets.

Net Margins Return on Equity Return on Assets
Kirby 14.14% 4.17% 2.41%
Kirby Competitors -0.68% 4.01% 1.63%

Volatility & Risk

Kirby has a beta of 0.94, indicating that its share price is 6% less volatile than the S&P 500. Comparatively, Kirby’s peers have a beta of 1.16, indicating that their average share price is 16% more volatile than the S&P 500.

Earnings & Valuation

This table compares Kirby and its peers revenue, earnings per share and valuation.

Gross Revenue Net Income Price/Earnings Ratio
Kirby $2.21 billion $313.18 million 42.07
Kirby Competitors $2.48 billion $323.23 million -1.19

Kirby’s peers have higher revenue and earnings than Kirby. Kirby is trading at a higher price-to-earnings ratio than its peers, indicating that it is currently more expensive than other companies in its industry.

Analyst Recommendations

This is a breakdown of current ratings for Kirby and its peers, as reported by

Sell Ratings Hold Ratings Buy Ratings Strong Buy Ratings Rating Score
Kirby 1 3 6 0 2.50
Kirby Competitors 235 769 1136 37 2.45

Kirby currently has a consensus price target of $81.11, suggesting a potential downside of 5.96%. As a group, “Water transportation” companies have a potential upside of 18.72%. Given Kirby’s peers higher probable upside, analysts plainly believe Kirby has less favorable growth aspects than its peers.

Insider & Institutional Ownership

94.0% of Kirby shares are owned by institutional investors. Comparatively, 64.1% of shares of all “Water transportation” companies are owned by institutional investors. 2.4% of Kirby shares are owned by company insiders. Comparatively, 6.0% of shares of all “Water transportation” companies are owned by company insiders. Strong institutional ownership is an indication that hedge funds, endowments and large money managers believe a stock will outperform the market over the long term.


Kirby beats its peers on 7 of the 13 factors compared.

Kirby Company Profile

Kirby Corporation operates domestic tank barges in the United States. It operates in two segments, Marine Transportation and Distribution and Services. The Marine Transportation segment provides marine transportation services and towing vessels transporting bulk liquid products, as well as operates tank barges throughout the Mississippi River System, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, coastwise along three United States coasts, and in Alaska and Hawaii. This segment also transports petrochemicals, black oil, refined petroleum products, and agricultural chemicals by tank barges; and operates offshore dry-bulk barge and tugboat units that are engaged in the offshore transportation of dry-bulk cargoes in the United States coastal trade. It serves oil refining and petrochemical companies. As of February 23, 2018, this segment owned or operated 998 inland tank barges with 22.0 million barrels of capacity, 302 inland towboats, 56 coastal tank barges with 5.4 million barrels of capacity, 53 coastal tugboats, 5 offshore dry-bulk cargo barges, 5 offshore tugboats, and 1 docking tugboat. The Distribution and Services segment sells replacement parts; provides service mechanics to overhaul and repair medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines, transmissions, reduction gears, and related oilfield services equipment; rebuilds component parts or diesel engines, transmissions, reduction gears, and related equipment used in oilfield services, marine, mining, power generation, on-highway, and other industrial applications; rents generators, fork lifts, and pumps and compressors; and manufactures and remanufactures pressure pumping units. It serves oilfield service, on-highway transportation, marine transportation, construction, and power generation companies, and the United States government. The company was formerly known as Kirby Exploration Company, Inc. and changed its name to Kirby Corporation in 1990. Kirby Corporation was founded in 1921 and is headquartered in Houston, Texas.

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