Oracle reports earnings growth

Oracle reports earnings growth

Net income at Oracle rose 28 per cent year-on-year for the quarter to August 31.

In the first quarter of its fiscal year, the company reported earnings of $US440 million, compared to $US343 million in the year-earlier period, meeting the expectations of analysts surveyed by Thomson First Call.

Oracle's revenue for the quarter totaled $US2.07 billion, up 2 per cent from $US2.03 billion a year earlier but below the $2.14 billion consensus analyst estimate. Revenue from software license updates and product support grew around 14 per cent over the year, and now accounts for half of all revenue.

Revenue from new software licenses and other services slipped by between 7 and 8 per cent.

Executives said that the drop in license sales was a disappointing sign, but denied it was indicative of deeper problems.

"A slow start in Q1 is not going to keep us from having a good year," Oracle chief financial officer, Jeff Henley, said. "I think we had a number of deals slip, and we just ran out of runway."

Contributing to the shaky quarter was the completion of a global sales force reorganisation to split Oracle's applications and database sales teams, chairman and chief executive officer, Larry Ellison, said.

"That certainly contributed to the slow start," he said. "There were a lot of bodies moving around."

Oracle's US employee headcount dropped by 531 during the quarter, to 17,437. Year-over-year, Oracle's headcount is down by about 1500 positions in the US.

Cuts had been made in all areas except research and development, which continued to expand, executives said. Cuts in US jobs had been offset by recent growth in Oracle's international ranks - the company's total worldwide headcount has remained relatively constant over the last several quarters, and ended the first quarter at 40,324.

Operating expenses rose 1 per cent, but general and administrative expenses rose 28 per cent, to $US131 million. This includes $US14.6 million in expenditure associated with Oracle's tender offer for PeopleSoft.

Oracle remains committed to its plan to take over PeopleSoft, and is now concentrating on winning regulatory approvals from the U.S. Department of Justice and from the European Union, executive vice-president, Chuck Phillip, said.

Oracle's best guess was that those reviews would be completed sometime in November, he said.

The company expected to see revenue growth continue in its second quarter, led by North America, it said.

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