Oracle posts strong Q4, full-year results

Oracle posts strong Q4, full-year results

Generates US$22.4 billion for the year.

Showing strong growth amid a worldwide economic downturn, Oracle on Wednesday reported fourth-quarter revenues of US$7.2 billion, a 24 percent rise compared to the same quarter last year, and total revenue for fiscal 2008 of US$22.4 billion.

Fourth-quarter earnings per share were up 27 percent to 39 cents over the same quarter in 2007, and net income also rose 27 percent, to US$2 billion. For the fiscal year, earnings per share stood at US$1.06, a rise of 30 percent. Net income for the year was US$5.5 billion, up 29 percent.

Excluding one-time charges, analysts polled by Thomson Financial had on average predicted earnings per share of 44 cents for the fourth quarter and US$1.27 for the year.

Oracle's adjusted results beat those estimates, at 47 cents per share for the quarter and US$1.30 for the fiscal year.

Fourth-quarter software revenues rose 26 percent to US$6.0 billion.

On a geographic basis, Oracle showed stronger growth in the Europe, Middle East and Africa region, with fourth-quarter revenue of US$2.68 billion, compared with US$1.99 billion last year. Meanwhile, sales for the quarter in Asia-Pacific were US$986 million, compared to US$818 million in 2007. Fourth-quarter revenue in the Americas was US$3.57 billion, up from US$3 billion last year.

Middleware maker BEA, which Oracle recently acquired, contributed US$93 million in new license revenue in the quarter, "exceeding our expectations," Chief Financial Officer Safra Catz said during a conference call on Wednesday.

However, Oracle expects BEA's new license revenue in the next quarter to be only US$50 million to US$60 million, she said.

Due to traditional seasonal slowdowns, adjusted earnings in the first quarter will drop as well, to 26 cents or 27 cents per share, according to Catz. That forecast was in line with analysts' consensus estimate of 27 cents.

But CEO Larry Ellison was characteristically bullish in regard to Oracle's future.

"We're going to remain number one in database and increase overall market share. We're doing that because we have better products than the competition," Ellison said.

Without giving specifics, Ellison said Oracle will announce "a major database innovation" in September.

But Ellison wasn't as bold when discussing certain initiatives and product lines at Oracle.

Asked about the progress of Oracle's long-simmering Fusion Applications, which are set to replace its various product lines over an extended timeframe, Ellison referred to the initial handful of Fusion products focused on CRM (customer relationship management) that have been announced, but he didn't set a detailed timetable for future releases.

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