Kirby Corp. has signed a definitive agreement to acquire substantially all of the assets and businesses of Houston-based Stewart & Stevenson, whose business includes the rental of generators, air compressors, forklifts, railcar movers and other equipment, for about $710 million. The agreement was signed this week by Hushang Ansary, executive chairman of Stewart & Stevenson, and Joseph Pyne, executive chairman of Kirby Corp.

The acquisition will be funded equally between Kirby’s revolving credit facility and Kirby common stock valued at approximately $355 million, subject to closing adjustments. The acquisition is expected to close in the third quarter, including regulatory approvals.

Kirby Corp. is the nation’s largest domestic tank barge operator transporting bulk liquid products throughout the Mississippi River system, on the Gulf Intracoastal Waterway, and in Alaska and Hawaii. Kirby transports petrochemicals, black oil, refined petroleum products and agricultural chemicals. It also has a diesel engine services segment, providing after-market service for medium-speed and high-speed diesel engines and reduction  gears used in marine and power generation applications, as well as distributing and servicing diesel engines, transmissions and pumps and manufacturing and remanufacturing oilfield service equipment.

“The combination of Stewart & Stevenson with Kirby’s existing distribution and services business has the potential to unlock significant strategic value, dampen overall volatility in the business, and create a larger organization at an opportune time, as the industry continues to recover from a deep downturn,” said Pyne in reference to the oilfield services industry.

“The acquisition of Stewart & Stevenson significantly expands the geographic footprint and capabilities of our distribution and services business,” added Kirby president and CEO David Grzebinski. “This transaction creates one of the largest distribution networks in the country with the engineering and technological capacity to successfully address the complex requirements of a large customer base in a competitive national and global environment. In this period of accelerating demand in the pressure pumping and industrial sectors of the economy, Stewart & Stevenson’s leadership in these sectors and its longstanding close relationships with the world’s major industrial companies provide an excellent opportunity for us to expand our participation in the national and international arenas.”