Financial Performance

Oracle Shares Slip on Cloud Revenue Outlook

The company expects cloud growth of 39% to 43% in Q2, disappointing investors who are watching its efforts to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft.
Matthew HellerSeptember 15, 2017

Oracle shares fell more than 7% on Friday as the company’s quarterly guidance came in below analysts’ estimates amid a slowdown in the growth of its cloud business.

For the first quarter, Oracle reported total revenue increased 7% to $9.19 billion, driven by a 51% gain in cloud revenue to $1.5 billion. Software-as-a-service (SaaS) recorded revenue growth of 62% while platform-as-a-service (PaaS) and infrastructure revenue rose 28%.

Analyts had expected total revenue of $9.03 billion.

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But looking ahead, the company forecast cloud revenue growth would slow to between 39% and 43% in the second quarter. It also predicted a gain in total revenue of between 2% and 4% and earnings per share of 64 to 68 cents — below analysts’ expectations of 4.7% revenue growth and 68 cents in EPS.

In trading Friday, Oracle shares dropped 7.6% to $48.74. “Oracle has been struggling to catch up with Amazon and Microsoft in cloud services, and investors have been closely scrutinizing its efforts,” Business Insider said.

The company has shifted to the cloud amid the sustained decline of its legacy software licensing business. For the second quarter, the segment’s revenue rose 2% to $5.9 billion, accounting for 65% of total revenue compared to 68% a year ago.

Oracle executives remain confident in their strategy. “The sustained hyper-growth in our multi-billion dollar cloud business continues to drive Oracle’s overall revenue and earnings higher and higher,” co-CEO Safra Catz said in a news release, adding, “Oracle is off to a very, very strong start in FY18.”

Michael Hurd, Oracle’s other CEO, said its cloud application business continues to grow more than twice as fast as and has 30 times more enterprise resource planning customers than Workday.

Oracle’s overall GAAP operating income was up 7% to $2.8 billion in the second quarter and operating margin was 31%. The lower-than-expected cloud revenue outlook may be due to “seasonal concentration of renewals in F1Q and [revenue] recognition delays associated with PaaS deployments,” Credit Suisse analyst Brad Zelnick said.