Oracle's Q1: 'We grew faster than SAP'

Oracle failed to meet analysts' earnings and revenue estimates for the first quarter, but pointed to worldwide growth in its applications business that surpassed competitor SAP

Oracle, which is facing a delay of its acquisition of Sun, on Wednesday reported first-quarter earnings of $1.5bn, or three cents per share, a three-percent increase over the year-ago quarter.

Revenue for the quarter was $5.1bn (£3bn), a seven percent drop from last year. Wall Street analysts had been expecting earnings of 30 cents on revenue of $5.25bn.

In its press release, Oracle noted that software licence updates and product support revenue grew 11 percent to $3.1bn and that the growth, along with "disciplined expense management", was key to the $8.5bn in free cash flow that has been generated over the past year.

Looking ahead, the company issued second-quarter guidance of non-Gaap earnings of 35-36 cents per share, up from 34 percent in the year-ago quarter. It expects revenue to be between +2 percent and -1 percent, year over year.

The company also noted its gains and compared them to SAP. Oracle president Charles Phillips said: "We grew faster than SAP in every region around the world, including Europe, where our applications business grew three percent in constant currency versus negative 39 percent for SAP’s most recent quarter.

"Our applications team also executed especially well in North America, where our applications business grew eight percent in constant currency versus negative 50 percent for SAP."

The earnings release comes a day after Oracle and Sun announced a second Exadata data-warehousing appliance that was built by Sun. In a statement, Oracle chief executive Larry Ellison touted the combination of Sun hardware and Oracle software to create "world's fastest computer system for OLTP (online transaction processing) and data warehousing".

The Sun acquisition is facing delays over concerns by the European Commission about MySQL. But the delay does not seem to be causing much concern on Wall Street.

In a note to investors, Piper Jaffray analyst Mark Murphy wrote that the delay may be placing pressure on Oracle and creating some uncertainty for investors, but that most Oracle partners have a positive outlook on the deal. Of those surveyed, 74 percent said they expect a positive outcome from the acquisition.

In the note, Murphy wrote: "Partners also indicate 'the growing importance of Java alone makes the acquisition extremely valuable', that 'Sun has a lot to offer in terms of IP, software, and hardware', and that it will succeed in 'protecting their significant database market share on the Sun platform from IBM’s DB2 product'."

Shares of Oracle were down about two percent in regular trading, closing at $22.13. Shares dipped further in after-hours trading, down more than five percent.