Oracle’s headlong rush to remake itself as a cloud software company slowed last quarter after steady acceleration throughout 2016, according to the latest earnings released on Monday.
Revenues for the quarter came in at $2.9bn, 2 per cent up from a year before but below forecasts of $2.95bn.
However, shares in the US database software company still rose 3 per cent in after-market trading after it increased its dividend by 27 per cent and beat expectations for pro-forma earnings thanks to a jump in non-operating income.
Wall Street has been warming to the idea this year that Oracle may soon get past a transition in which the profit decline in its traditional on-premise software licensing business has out-weighed the impact of cloud growth. The company’s shares were already up 12 per cent since the start of the year, nearly double the broader market.
Revenue from its fastest-growing cloud activities, in platform-as-a-service and software-as-a-service, rose by 73 per cent in the latest quarter, to $1bn. That was a slight slowdown from the 81 per cent of the preceding three months, though it still reflected a big pick-up in cloud growth that has been apparent in recent quarters.
Meanwhile, Oracle’s traditional software licensing business fell a further 16 per cent, to $1.4bn. Though less severe than the 20 per cent fall that worried investors in the previous quarter, it still highlighted a faster decline that set in last year. Investors are hoping for greater resilience from software licensing in coming quarters with the launch of a new version of Oracle’s database.
Thanks partly to $189m in non-operating income, up from $65m the year before, Oracle was able to report a 5 per cent increase in net income for the three months to the end of February, to $2.2bn. Earnings per share rose by four cents, to 55 cents.
On the pro-forma basis that Wall Street judges the company on, earnings per share rose by 7 per cent to 69 cents, compared to expectations of 62 cents.