12th March 2004 Oracle has reported revenues up 9% from $2.3 billion to $2.5 billion, as a result of rising demand for 10g, its latest generation of database software.
Net income in the company’s third quarter to the end of February, was $635 million, compared with $571 million in the same period a year earlier.
The figures were attributed to solid performance in the company’s core database business. “The increase in database licence revenues in the latest quarter is evidence that Oracle’s latest database architecture is catching on with customers,” said CEO Larry Ellison in a conference call with analysts. “We have a target of annual [profit] margins of 40% and we’re closing in on that target.”
However application sales were “essentially flat” admitted Oracle chief financial officer Jeff Henley, although he stressed that this was not part of any negative trend. Over the first nine months of Oracle’s fiscal year as a whole, applications licence revenues have increased by 7% and databases by 8%, he added.
Analysts have described Oracle’s sluggish sales in applications as in tune with the market, but forecast that sales will rise. “PeopleSoft’s applications business fell 20%. SAP was flat but gaining share. Structurally the market is weak,” said Charles Di Bona, an analyst at investment bank Sanford Bernstein.
Analyst Jim Mendelson of Schwab SoundView Capital Markets added: “I would imagine [Oracle] will be pretty upbeat for the fourth quarter.”
Oracle is currently pushing to acquire applications rival PeopleSoft in a $9.4 billion hostile takeover. Regulators in the US have tried to block the move, but Oracle is appealing against that decision, which will be heard on 21 June.
Regardless of whether that move is successful, Ellison assured analysts that Oracle is still sizing up possible acquisition targets in order to accelerate growth.