Oracle Reports Higher Profit -- 2nd Update

12/12/2019 | 07:07pm
Larry Ellison


By Maria Armental



Software giant Oracle Corp. won't return to a dual-CEO structure after the death this year of co-Chief Executive Mark Hurd, the tech company's founder and chairman Larry Ellison said.



"We have no plans for having a second CEO," he told analysts Thursday after the company reported second fiscal quarter financial results. It was the company's first earnings report since the October death of Mr. Hurd, who had shared the post of chief executive with Safra Catz.



Ms. Catz now leads Oracle as sole CEO. Company co-founder Larry Ellison, who ceded the CEO post to Mr. Hurd and Ms. Catz in 2014, remains active as chairman and chief technology officer.



Oracle, Mr. Ellison said, was working to strengthen its management team. "We're hiring a bunch of people at the next layer down who are potential CEOs when both Safra and I retire, which is not anytime soon," he said.



The Silicon Valley company, best known for its corporate database software, reported $9.61 billion in revenue for the quarter ended Nov. 30, missing analysts' projected $9.65 billion, according to FactSet.



Profit for the second quarter rose to $2.31 billion, or 69 cents a share. Excluding stock-based compensation and other items, profit rose to 90 cents a year, from 80 cents a share a year earlier. Analysts surveyed by FactSet expected a profit of 68 cents a share, or 89 cents a share as adjusted.



For the current quarter, Oracle gave a somewhat muted outlook. It projected adjusted profit of 95 cents to 97 cents a share compared with analysts' projected 97 cents. Sales, Oracle said, would rise roughly 2%, broadly in line with analysts' projections.



The company said it is seeing strong demand and higher conversion rates and expects strong momentum in the second half of this fiscal year to carry through 2021.



Oracle deftly navigated constant technological changes since it was founded in 1977; but in the era of cloud computing, it has been playing catch-up to the likes of Amazon.com Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Alphabet Inc.'s Google.



In the most recent quarter, Oracle reported a combined $7.94 billion cloud and license revenue, just shy of analysts' projections of roughly $8 billion. Oracle has been trying to introduce new features to its cloud, including greater automation, to help lure customers away from other vendors, in particular market leader Amazon.



This month, the company added to its board Vishal Sikka, founder and chief executive of artificial-intelligence company Vianai Systems and a SAP SE and Infosys Ltd. veteran, highlighting Mr. Sikka's experience in AI and machine learning.



Shares, which have been trading near record levels in recent months, closed Thursday at $56.47 and fell 2.6% in after-hours trading.



Write to Maria Armental at maria.armental@wsj.com





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