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Jun 19, 2018

Oracle quarterly sales beat on cloud push

For a U.S. tech stock, Oracle is a decent dividend play: Synovus

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Oracle Corp. (ORCL.N), the world’s second-largest software company, reported sales that topped Wall Street’s expectations, signaling its pivot to the cloud may have gained some traction.

Profits excluding some items were 99 cents per share on sales of US$11.25 billion in the fourth fiscal quarter, the Redwood City, California-based company said in a statement Tuesday. Analysts had on average estimated 94 cents a share and revenue of US$11.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg News.

Oracle’s Chief Executive Officers Safra Catz and Mark Hurd have expanded the company’s cloud offerings in a bid to shore up sales. Over the past few months, the company has engaged in a charm offensive meant to woo new and old customers to convert to its products accessible via the internet and by subscription., instead of programs that clients hosted on their own servers.

The steps have included beefing up service quality in its maintenance program and selling customers a so-called “automated’’ version of its flagship database program, arguing it will reduce clients’ labor costs. The company also bolstered its sales team. But as Oracle follows Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Salesforce.com Inc. in offering web services hosted remotely, there’s persistent concern that the company’s progress hasn’t moved fast enough.

“Oracle’s reputation for not being customer-centric continues to scare away new customers (including some who might have gone to NetSuite before it was acquired by Oracle) and make some existing customers reluctant to buy more,’’ Pat Walravens, an analyst at JMP Securities LLC, wrote in a note before the earnings report.

Oracle’s cloud services and license support revenue was up 8 per cent to US$6.8 billion.

For fiscal 2019, Catz said she expects revenue increases should help the company deliver double-digit adjusted earnings per share growth.

The shares were little changed in extended trading in New York. They are down 2.1 per cent this year.