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Oracle meets Q4 forecasts

Database software company Oracle reported fourth quarter financial results that matched Wall Street's earnings forecasts, but both revenue and profit were down from a year earlier.

Oracle's net income based on GAAP (generally accepted accounting practices) was $656m (£440m) or 12 cents per share, compared with $854m,for the same quarter a year ago.

Financial analysts on average predicting 12 cents per share, according to Thomson Financial/First call.

Oracle also exceeded analysts' revenue expectations, reporting $2.77bn (£1.86bn) in revenue for the quarter, the company said. Analysts had been expecting $2.55bn, according to Thomson Financial. In its fourth quarter last year, Oracle earned $3.3bn in revenue.

Excluding an impairment charge that Oracle cited because of its investment in Liberate Technologies, fourth-quarter net income was $760m (£509m), or 14 cents per share.

For the full 2002 financial year, Oracle earned $2.2bn (£1.47bn), or 39 cents per share, on revenue of $9.7bn (£6.5bn), on a GAAP basis, the company said. Analysts had expected earnings of 39 cents for the full year, and revenue of $9.38bn. For fiscal 2001, Oracle reported $2.6bn in net income, or 44 cents per share, on revenue of $11bn.

Oracle offered limited financial guidance for the next financial year.

"Our visibility going forward remains very limited," said chief financial officer Jeff Henley. "Our assumption is that while the US economy... will improve this year... technology spending will not show improvement for at least six months."

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