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Oracle earnings edge up as execs see 'dramatic' growth for autonomous database

Oracle Corp. on Dec. 12 reported fiscal second-quarter revenue growth of 1% on the back of its cloud services and license support segment, despite some declines in other segments.

Revenue for the quarter ended Nov. 30 increased to $9.61 billion, more than 70% of which came from cloud services and license support, and most of its $6.81 billion in cloud services and license segment revenue was recurring, CEO Safra Catz said on a same-day earnings webcast. In comparison, the company's total revenue in the fiscal second quarter of 2018 was $9.56 billion.

Oracle used its own Fusion ERP Cloud intelligent software product to do its accounting, which it said allowed it to report 12 days after the Nov. 30 quarter-end, eliminating about 30% of its manual reporting labor.

"We are going to continue using our own cloud technology as an intelligent automation engine and continue to simplify our business model and processes ... As a result, I expect that you will see us expand our margins and grow EPS double digits for the foreseeable future," CEO Catz said on the webcast.

Oracle's ERP and HCM Fusion Cloud products saw revenue growth of 38% and 23%, respectively, with Fusion ERP Customers totaling about 7,000, executives said. NetSuite ERP revenue growth was 28% and included 20,000 customers. Vertical SaaS saw growth in the "low double digits while data cloud stabilized," Catz said. About 90% of trailing-12-month revenue in this application ecosystem was recurring, she said.

"Workday's lack of success in cloud ERP is creating opportunities for Oracle in Cloud HCM. More and more, we are seeing HCM as being purchased as a part of an ERP cloud application suite. As a result, today, we have more HCM customers than Workday," Chairman and Chief Technology Officer Larry Ellison said on the webcast, referring to Workday Inc.'s premier product offering.

Ellison called out Inc., saying Oracle's automated security features and superior speed and price compared to Amazon's market-leading AWS product makes Oracle's database superior and faster growing. At some point, the only database product will be autonomous database, Ellison said.

"We already have thousands of autonomous database customers running in our public cloud. We added 2,000 more this quarter. And our autonomous business ... is growing in excess of 100%," Ellison said, adding that he believes that growth rate will spike "dramatically." "None of us has ever seen an adoption rate like this before."

The company reported net income of $2.31 billion, or 69 cents per share, compared to $2.33 billion, or 61 cents per share, in the prior-year quarter. On a non-GAAP adjusted basis, net income was $2.98 billion, or 90 cents per share, compared to $3.06 billion, or 80 cents per share, in the year-ago quarter.

The consensus EPS estimate was 68 cents on a GAAP basis and 89 cents on a normalized basis, according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.

Catz forecast third-quarter total revenues to be up 1% to 3%. Non-GAAP EPS is expected to land in a range of 95 cents to 97 cents. The S&P Global Market Intelligence consensus normalized EPS estimate for Oracle's third fiscal quarter is 96 cents.

Over the fiscal second quarter, the company repurchased 91 million shares for a total of about $5 billion.