Oracle Q1 results beat analysts' expectations

Oracle Q1 results beat analysts' expectations

Middleware is Oracle's fastest-growing product line.

Oracle reported first-quarter 2009 earnings of US$0.21 per share, a 28 percent rise year-over-year, the company said Thursday. Overall revenue for the quarter was US$5.3 billion, a rise of 18 percent, while net income was $1.1 billion, up 28 percent over last year.

Software revenues rose 20 percent to US$4.2 billion, while new software license sales were $1.2 billion, an increase of 14 percent.

Non-GAAP (generally accepted accounting principles) earnings were US$0.29 per share on revenue of $5.42 billion. Analysts polled by Thomson Financial had predicted $0.27 per share and $5.42 billion in revenue.

Oracle's results had been highly anticipated by Wall Street during a week rocked by turmoil in the financial markets. The vendor's shares had already dropped about 20 percent since early to mid-August, to US$18.73 at the close of trading Thursday, but rose to about $19 immediately after hours.

Oracle can continue to post strong growth despite the turbulent economy for a couple of reasons, CEO Larry Ellison said during a conference call Thursday.

"The license renewal business ... is about half of our business," he said. "That's an extremely high-margin business and continues to grow."

And the company's dominance in certain key products, such as databases, helps sustain its momentum, Ellison added. "The fact we sell more database than anyone else means we can invest more in improving our database," he said.

But middleware is Oracle's fastest-growing product line, Ellison said: "We think [we have moved] from number two to number one in middleware. We have either passed IBM or are about to pass IBM."

Oracle's annual OpenWorld user conference begins in San Francisco on Sunday. Evidence and speculation have mounted over the product and strategy announcements officials will make there, particularly regarding Oracle database 11g.

Oracle President Charles Phillips said the company will deliver an update to 11g this quarter, and confirmed that a database-related announcement would be made at OpenWorld, but did not provide specifics.

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