As Jacobs Solutions prepares for a big impending spin-off, it stands to benefit from three of the hottest manufacturing market sectors in its more traditional design and program management business: data centers, computer chips and the pharmaceutical companies that make diabetes and weight-loss drugs that include the insulin control known as GLP-1.

Jacobs has longstanding working relationships with two of the pharmaceutical companies, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly.

The pharmaceutical companies have been straining to meet the intensifying demand for obesity drugs. Jacobs provides “capacity and speed” for their delivery, CEO Robert Pragada recently told CNBC interviewers.

In an earnings conference call May 8, Pragada said that  Jacobs' work for the two firms involves “nearly over 50% of the capital” that those companies are putting in place. So that work “continues to be a big driver” for Jacobs' life sciences unit, he said.

More contracts, related to advances in oncology drugs, soon should also be in hand, he added.

While building up work in these and other sectors for its more conventional design and construction services clients, the Dallas-based company is planning to create a separate entity using its Critical Mission Solutions and Cyber Security units and merging them with Amentum, a Chantilly, Va.-based engineer and project management firm. That merger deal was announced in November. 

There are other changes. On May 20 the company announced that it had hired a new chief financial officer, Venk Nathamuni, who comes with experience in the computer chip and semiconductor industry.

The changes are being made as the company continues to post good financial results. Jacobs (NYSE-J) reported adjusted net earnings from continuing operations of $241 million, on revenue of $3.5 billion, for the second quarter ending in March of its fiscal year, compared to $262 million on $3.4 billion in the same period of the prior year.

Jacobs Solutions is ranked Number 1 for 2023 in several market categories in the ENR Top 500 Design Firms, including manufacturing. Jacobs is also Number 1 in overall revenue, with $12.7 billion in 2023.

The company has stressed its search for efficiency, selectivity and high win-rates when it comes to pursuing work.

In the earnings conference call, UBS Securities analyst Judah Aronovitz asked Pragada for details about “what kind of projects you are saying no to?”

Source: Jacobs Solutions

Pragada, responding indirectly, said that Jacobs had always been selective but that it has become “a primary focus for us as the opportunities have increased.” In transportation, he added, Jacobs' win rates “have been the highest, you could say, the highest in the market.”

Long-term client relationships are a big part of that success, he said. “We're not out looking for work.”