(Bloomberg) — Oracle Corp. reported quarterly sales that exceeded analysts’ estimates on a strong effort from its Cerner digital health records unit, overcoming softer demand for information technology services in a choppy economy.
Sales increased 18% to $12.3 billion in the period ended Nov. 30, compared with analysts’ average estimate of $12 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Profit, excluding some items, was $1.21 a share, which included a hit of 9 cents from currency fluctuations. Analysts, on average, projected $1.18 a share.
Cloud revenue — the highly watched segment that Oracle has been trying to expand — rose 43% to $3.8 billion in the fiscal second quarter, the Austin, Texas-based company said Monday in a statement. The segment produced 45% year-over-year growth in the prior quarter.
The software giant, known for its database technology, sells enterprise software applications that can be used over the internet. The company also has been striving to increase its business of renting computing power and storage, which is a market called cloud infrastructure that is led by Amazon.com Inc. and Microsoft Corp. At an analyst day in October, Oracle forecast a better-than-expected $65 billion in annual revenue by the 2026 fiscal year, fueled by the cloud effort.
The company spent $2.4 billion toward capital expenditures in the quarter, primarily focused on data centers needed to meet cloud demand, Chief Executive Officer Safra Catz said on a conference call after the results. Catz said she expects to continue to invest at that level for the “next few quarters.”
Last week, Oracle, Amazon Web Services, Microsoft and Alphabet Inc.’s Google won a share of a $9 billion Department of Defense contract for cloud services.
Oracle also is relying on its acquisition of Cerner, which was completed in June, to build inroads in health care, an industry that has been slow to move data technology to the web. Cerner generated $1.5 billion in the quarter, Oracle said.
“Since the acquisition, Cerner has contributed to Oracle’s growth — and Oracle has helped Cerner improve its technology,” Chairman Larry Ellison said in the statement. “But we are just beginning our mission to modernize health care information systems.”
In a note before the results were announced, Anurag Rana, a senior analyst at Bloomberg Intelligence, expected the digital medical records unit “might more than offset any economic-related weakness.”
Sales of the Fusion application for managing corporate finances rose 23% in the period, compared with 33% last quarter. Revenue from NetSuite’s enterprise planning tools, targeted to small- and midsize businesses, increased 25%, compared with 27% last quarter.
On the call, Catz said revenue will increase 17% to 19% in the current quarter, which ends in February. Analysts, on average, projected 17% growth to $12.3 billion. Earnings per share will be as much as $1.21, including a negative impact of 6 cents a share from currency fluctuations, she said. Analysts estimated $1.24 a share.
The CEO repeated her forecast from September that Oracle’s fiscal-year cloud sales, excluding Cerner’s contribution, would increase 30% on a constant currency basis. The cloud business growth will “exceed 30%” including Cerner, she said.
The stock gained about 2% in extended trading after closing at $81.28 in New York. Oracle has been one of the best performing tech stocks in recent months. The shares have jumped 33% since the end of September, compared with a 12% rise in the S&P 500 Information Technology Index.
–With assistance from Ian King.
(Updates with comments from CEO beginning in the fifth paragraph.)
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