Oracle profits drop slightly on strong US dollar

Hurt by a strengthening U.S. dollar, Oracle announced earnings Thursday that were slightly below the company's previously issued guidance, and profits that fell slightly.

The company reported GAAP income that fell one percent year-on-year, to US$1.3 billion on $5.6 billion in revenue for its fiscal 2009 second quarter, ended Nov. 30. Revenue was up 6 percent from the company's year-ago tally. Earnings per share of $0.34 matched analysts' expectations, according to a survey by Thomson Financial.

The strengthening U.S. dollar cost the company about $0.03 per share in earnings, Oracle said. It had issued guidance in September that it expected $0.35 or $0.36 per share.

Software licensing revenue was up 8 percent during the quarter, but new software sales were down 3 percent, compared to year-ago numbers.

In a conference call with financial analysts Oracle executives blamed that drop in new software sales on currency fluctuations, which have reduced the value of some international sales, when measured in U.S. dollars.

The company signed its "largest on-demand sales force automation contract this quarter," beating out software-as-a-service rival, Oracle said in a statement.