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Oracle posts improved first quarter

Company reports improvement in both revenue and net income, getting some help from sales of its Fusion middleware.

Oracle reported improved quarterly earnings Thursday, in part fueled by sales of its Fusion middleware.

Investors applauded Oracle's first-quarter performance, sending its stock up in after-hours trading to $19.20 a share. During regular trading, Oracle closed at $18.75 a share--up nearly 3.6 percent for the day.

Oracle posted net income of nearly $1.1 billion, or 21 cents a share, for the period ending August 31, up 28 percent from the same period a year ago. Excluding charges, Oracle posted earnings of 29 cents a share, beating Wall Street's estimates by 2 cents a share, noted Brent Thill, an analyst with Citigroup Global Markets.

Revenue rose to $5.3 billion in the first quarter, up 18 percent from the year ago period. And new software licenses, a figure investors use in gauging the health of the company, increased 14 percent to $1.2 billion in the quarter over last year. New software licenses accounted for 23 percent of Oracle's overall revenue.

"More and more Oracle database customers are buying our integrated suite of standards-based Fusion middleware to modernize their computing environment," Charles Phillips, Oracle president, said in a statement.

But Thill noted that the first-quarter growth for Oracle's enterprise applications business was down 12 percent, far less than his projections for the company.

Going forward, however, Thill predicts Oracle will post at least a 14 percent growth in license revenue in the second quarter when compared to year ago figures, as well as an 18 percent in overall revenue. >