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Shares of Oracle Corp. (ORCL - Analyst Report) plunged 7.2% ($2.58) on the heels of disappointing third-quarter 2013 results. Oracle reported earnings of 63 cents per share, which missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate by a penny. Revenues also missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $9.38 billion.
Revenues decreased 1.0% year over year and 1.6% sequentially to $8.97 billion. Revenues also missed management’s guided range of 1.0% to 5.0% growth. The decline in revenues was primarily attributed to weak execution from the sales force as a number of deals remained incomplete in the reported quarter.
Software revenues climbed 3.7% year over year but remained flat on a sequential basis at $6.68 billion. New software licenses declined 1.5% from the year-ago quarter and 2.6% from the previous quarter to $2.34 billion (missed management’s guided range of 3.0% to 13.0% growth). Software license update and product support revenues increased 6.8% year over year and 1.9% quarter over quarter to $4.34 billion.
New software licenses and cloud software subscription sales were weak in Asia-Pacific, where revenues declined 3.0% year over year, followed by Americas, where revenues decreased 2.0% from the year-ago quarter. Europe, the Middle East & Africa revenues remained flat on a year-over-year basis in the third quarter. Cloud revenues were $238.0 million in the quarter.
Hardware declined 16.0% year over year and 6.1% sequentially to $1.24 billion, primarily due to a massive 22.8% plunge in hardware systems products and 6.2% decline in hardware systems support revenues. T-series was the best performing server product in the quarter. However, results were dragged down by weak performance from M series. ZFS storage sales jumped double-digit in the quarter.
Customers deferred hardware system purchase in the quarter as Oracle is set to release new products shortly. The new products include next generation servers built on the SPARC T5 microprocessor. Oracle will also launch the new upgraded M5 server, which is expected to replace the old M9000 server product line.
Hardware systems product sales declined in all the regions with Americas down a massive 25%, followed by Europe, the Middle East & Africa, where revenues declined 24% year over year in the quarter. Revenues declined 16.0% in the Asia-Pacific region.
Engineered systems (Exadata, Exalogic, Exalytics) continued to grow at a significant rate with more than 30% sequential growth in unit bookings. Oracle sold more than 800 engineered systems to customers that include Office Depot (ODP - Analyst Report), and Dow Chemical in the reported quarter.
Services revenues declined 8.4% year over year and 7.0% quarter over quarter to $1.05 billion in the reported quarter.
Region wise, Americas (52.4% of revenues) remained flat on a year-over-year basis, but decreased 1.9% sequentially to $4.70 billion. Europe, the Middle East & Africa (30.6% of revenues) declined 1.5% year over year but increased 1.6% sequentially to $2.75 billion. Asia Pacific (16.9% of total revenue) declined 1.9% year over year and 5.7% quarter over quarter to $1.52 billion.
Total operating expenses as a percentage of revenues remained flat year over year but increased 10 basis points (“bps”) from the previous quarter to 55.3%. Sales & marketing (“S&M”), research & development (“R&D”) and Services, jointly incurred 77.4% of the operating expenses in the quarter.
S&M and R&D expenses increased 130 bps and 60 bps, respectively on a year-over-year basis in the quarter. However, services as a percentage of revenues declined 70 bps from the year-ago quarter.
Operating margin remained flat on a year-over-year basis at 44.7%, primarily due to flat operating expenses, which fully offset the negative impact of revenue decline. However, on a sequential basis operating margin contracted 10 bps due to slight increase in operating expenses.
Earnings per share (“EPS) increased 8.6% year over year and 5.0% quarter over quarter to 63 cents. EPS on a non-GAAP basis includes stock-based compensation but excludes amortization, restructuring and acquisition related expenses net of tax. EPS on a GAAP basis was 52 cents in the reported quarter.
Oracle exited the third quarter with cash and marketable securities of $33.41 billion compared with $33.70 billion at the end of the previous quarter. GAAP operating cash flow was $13.72 billion compared with $13.53 billion in the previous quarter.
Free cash flow of $13.03 billion ($12.82 billion in the previous quarter) was impressive providing ample liquidity to Oracle in order to pursue acquisitions, sustain dividend payments and further share repurchase. Oracle bought back 61.5 million shares for $2.1 billion in the quarter.
For the fourth quarter of 2013, Oracle expects non-GAAP earnings in the range of 85 cents to 91 cents per share, which is significantly higher than the year-ago level (82 cents).
Total revenue on a non-GAAP basis is expected to grow in the range of (1.0%) to 4.0% (in US$). New software license and cloud subscription revenue growth is expected to range from 1.0% to 11% (in $). Hardware product revenues are expected to be in the range of (23.0%) to (13.0%) for the upcoming quarter.
We believe that Oracle needs to improve top-line growth and execution in order to boost investor confidence in the near term. We believe that speedy adoption of engineered systems and cloud suites will drive incremental top-line growth going ahead. Oracle’s solid product suite lends it a competitive edge over rivals like International Business Machines Corp. (IBM - Analyst Report) and SAP AG (SAP - Analyst Report).
Moreover, improving sales execution will result in strong conversion as well as win rates in the near term. Hardware growth is also expected to rebound in the first quarter of 2014, driven by new product introductions.
Currently, Oracle has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).