Oracle Reports Growth In Tough Q2

While still having gains, Oracle showed that a slowing economy is having an impact on the acquisition-minded juggernaut.
Oracle reported second-quarter 2009 results at the close of trading Thursday, saying its earnings of were 25 cents per share, in line with earnings per share in the same quarter last year.

But the statement put a gloss on a tougher quarter for Oracle than recent ones. The percentage increase for earnings per share fell short of 11%; that's what they would have been but for a strengthening dollar shaving 4 cents off Oracle's earnings, which otherwise would have been 29 cents this year. Even 11% would have been short of last year's mark. A year ago, Oracle reported second-quarter earnings were up 36% to reach the 25 cents per share mark. Total revenue was up just 6% to $5.6 billion, compared with a 28% increase last year to $5.3 billion, and net income in the second quarter this year was down 1% to $1.3 billion, compared with being up 35% to a similar figure a year ago.

All in all, while still showing gains, the results showed a slowing economy was having an impact even on Oracle's acquisition-minded juggernaut. The software part of Oracle's revenue was up 8% to $4.5 billion; as part of that total, new software license revenue was down 3% to $1.6 billion. Services revenue was down 2% to $1.1 billion. Software updates and product support revenue, or maintenance, was up 14% to $2.9 billion.

The same figures for a year ago were total software revenue up 29% to $4.2 billion, with new software licenses up 39% to $1.7 billion. Services revenue was up 22% to $1.2 billion. No figure was offered for maintenance revenue in the Dec. 19, 2007, announcement.

"We signed our largest on-demand sales force automation contract this quarter. This was just one of several recent wins over," said CEO Larry Ellison in a prepared statement on the quarter. "We also sold our first database machine, launching an all new and important business," he added. Oracle teamed up with hardware from Hewlett-Packard to produce a database machine, composed of a grid of database servers and a 12-unit HP Exabyte Storage Server on a single rack. The database machine was announced at Oracle Open World in San Francisco in September.

Other results showed Oracle managing its business as thoughtfully aware of the downturn. It increased its operating income 11% to $2 billion and its operating margin to 35%, according to generally accepted accounting principles, despite its overall slowdown in growth.

Those figures looked even stronger by Oracle's own accounting. "Our non-GAAP operating income grew 25% in constant currency to $2.6 billion in Q2, resulting in operating margins of 46%," said Oracle CFO Jeff Epstein. "In addition Oracle generated $7.6 billion in free cash flow in the past twelve months, up 15% over the same period last year," he added.

Or, in contrast to businesses caught by surprise, Oracle has held onto cash and reduced payouts for some long term investments and expenses as the economy worsened.