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Jacobs-GHD JV Inks an Inland Rail Program Deal in Australia


Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. JEC, in conjunction with GHD, will carry out feasibility study and environmental impact assessment for an Inland Rail Program in New South Wales (NSW), Australia.

Jacobs-GHD joint venture (“JV”) has been appointed by the Australian Rail Track Corporation for a 300-kilometer (km)-long greenfield section of the multi-billion-dollar Inland Rail Program. The JV will provide engineering design and conduct environmental investigation in order to identify the ideal route for the 40- to 60-meter-wide rail corridor of the project, namely the Narromine to Narrabri (N2N).

This 300 km of new track makes it the longest distance project within Inland Rail that comprises seven passing loops, four road-over-rail graded separations and three rail-over-rail graded separations, 17 rail underbridges, four kilometers of viaduct, a number of level crossings and more than 320 utility crossings.

Inland Rail provides major supply-chain benefits by linking farms, mines, cities and ports to global markets, and will thereby reduce transit times and complete one of the missing freight rail links between Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth and Brisbane.

Jacobs has been delivering robust performance, given its efficient project execution. The company’s ongoing contract wins are a testimony to the fact. Backlog at the end of the fiscal third quarter was $27.2 billion, increasing 47% year over year on a reported basis and 8% on a pro-forma basis, banking on solid contributions from field services, driven by an increase in major water infrastructure and life sciences design-build projects.

Jacobs, a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy) company, expects the trend to continue, driven by strong demand across both Aerospace, Technology, Environmental and Nuclear, and Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities line of businesses.

Specifically, revenues from the Buildings, Infrastructure and Advanced Facilities segment advanced 72.9% year over year in the third quarter of fiscal 2018, ending Jun 29, 2018. The segment revenues represented 41.1% of the company’s total quarterly revenues. Backlog at the end of the quarter was roughly $11.3 billion for the segment, reflecting 75.2% year-over-year growth.

Meanwhile, shares of this leading professional, technical and construction services provider have gained 12% year to date against its industry’s decline of 6.3%.

Other Stocks to Consider

Other top-ranked stocks from the same sector include Comfort Systems USA, Inc. FIX, Gates Industrial Corporation plc GTES and KBR, Inc. KBR. While Comfort Systems sports a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), Gates Industrial and KBR both carry a Zacks Rank #2. You can see the complete list of today’s Zacks #1 Rank stocks here.

Comfort Systems’ earnings surpassed the consensus estimate in three of the trailing four quarters, with an average positive surprise of 11.2%.

Earnings for Gates Industrial are expected to increase 42.2% for 2018.

KBR surpassed earnings estimates in three of the past four quarters, resulting in an average positive surprise of 12.26%.

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