Oracle profit climbs 15 per cent in fourth quarter

Oracle profit climbs 15 per cent in fourth quarter

Oracle's year-long battle to acquire PeopleSoft appears not to have distracted it from selling software. The database giant reported revenue of $US3.1 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, up 9 per cent from a year earlier, while its operating margin was at its highest ever.

Net income for the quarter, which ended May 31, was $US990 million, or $US0.19 a share, up 15 per cent from $US858 million, or $US0.16 a share, in the same period a year earlier, Oracle said.

The earnings beat analysts' forecasts by a penny, according to a consensus estimate from Thomson First Call.

Software revenue climbed 12 per cent, to $US2.5 billion, while services revenue dropped 4 per cent to $US558 million, Oracle said.

Sales of new database licenses grew 15 per cent, it said, helped by speedy sales of its new 10g database.

Operating income came in at $US1.4 billion for the quarter and $US3.9 billion for the full year -- higher than Oracle's best year during the Internet bubble, Oracle's chairman and chief executive officer, Jeff Henley, said.

Oracle's operating margin for the quarter was 46 per cent.

"We had a very strong finish to a very good year," Henley said.

Oracle has spent the past 12 months trying to pull off a hostile takeover of applications rival PeopleSoft. It is currently in San Francisco federal court battling the US Department of Justice's efforts to block the merger on competition grounds. European regulators have also expressed concerns about the deal.

The effort may not have distracted Oracle's sales teams but it has chewed up some of its cash.

General and administrative expenses for the year included $US54.2 million of professional services fees associated with the takeover attempt, Oracle said.

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