Oracle reports mixed Q4 as customers feel the impact of COVID-19

Oracle missed revenue expectations for the quarter, noting that customers in industries hit hard by the coronavirus are postponing purchases.

Oracle on Tuesday reported mixed fourth-quarter financial results, noting that customers in certain industries greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, such as hospitality and retail, are postponing purchases. 

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Oracle's non-GAAP net income for the fourth quarter was $3.8 billion, while non-GAAP earnings per share were up 3% year-over-year to $1.20. Total quarterly revenues were $10.4 billion, down 6% year-over-year.

Analysts were expecting earnings of $1.16 on revenue of $10.67 billion. 

For the full fiscal year, Oracle's non-GAAP net income was $12.7 billion, while non-GAAP earnings per share were up 9% to $3.85. Total revenues were $39.1 billion, down 1% year-over-year.

The strong quarterly earnings were driven by strong performances in both cloud infrastructure and cloud applications sales, CEO Safra Catz said in a statement. Oracle's Fusion Cloud ERP Suite grew 35% in constant currency in Q4, while the Fusion Cloud HCM Suite grew 29% in constant currency. 

Oracle now has more than 7,100 Fusion ERP customers and nearly 22,000 Netsuite customers, making it the biggest cloud ERP player. Meanwhile, "more and more customers these days are purchasing HCM as part of overall ERP purchase decisions," Oracle co-founder and CTO Larry Ellison said on a conference call Tuesday. 

In her statement, Catz said Oracle's overall business did "remarkably well considering the pandemic." This was Oracle's third year in a row of double-digit constant currency earnings per share growth. Still, she said, "our results would have been even better except for customers in the hardest-hit industries that we serve such as hospitality, retail, and transportation postponing some of their purchases."

In Q4, cloud services and license support revenues were $6.8 billion, up 1% year-over-year. Cloud license and on-premise license revenues were nearly $2 billion, down 22%. 

Annualized consumption revenue (ACR) for Oracle Cloud Infrastructure (OCI) grew over 140% in Q4, Catz said on Tuesday's conference call. OCI is "now a serious part of the infrastructure discussion," she said. 

The company notched up a number of notable cloud infrastructure customer wins in the quarter, including 8x8 and Zoom. 8x8 began by moving some services to OCI, Ellison said, and was "very surprised by the extent of their performance gains." The subsequently decided to move more workloads from AWS to Oracle, he said, illustrating how Oracle aims to grow its cloud business. 

To facilitate that migration, Oracle in Q4 launched an improved version of its Exadata Cloud@Customer service, which enables existing on-premise database customers to run the Oracle Autonomous Database in their own data center.

"We think we're going to get the lion's share of our database installed base moving to our cloud," Ellison said. "If that's right, our infrastructure cloud business is gigantic. We have hundreds of thousands of database customers, including all the largest companies and governments on the planet Earth."

For the full year, cloud services and license support revenues were $27.4 billion, up 3%. Cloud license and on-premise license revenues were $5.1 billion.

Oracle on Tuesday also announced its board of directors declared a quarterly cash dividend of 24 cents per share of outstanding common stock.