Oracle Rises After Corporate Spending Fuels Software, Sun Sales

Oracle Corp., the second-largest software maker, rose in late trading yesterday after its first- quarter results and sales forecast topped analysts’ estimates, helped by an expansion into computer hardware.

Excluding acquisition costs and other expenses, earnings climbed to 42 cents a share last quarter, beating the 37-cent average of projections compiled by Bloomberg. Oracle indicated that sales will be at least $8.4 billion in the current period. Analysts had estimated $8.21 billion.The company is counting on hardware to spur a new wave of growth, underpinned by its acquisition of Sun Microsystems Inc. this year. Oracle is assembling more prepackaged systems, which combine its software with Sun’s servers. By adding salespeople and engineers and moving away from low-end machines, Oracle aims to squeeze more sales and profit from hardware, which generated $1.7 billion last quarter.“We can dramatically improve margins and double the top line,” Chief Executive Officer Larry Ellison said on a conference call, without giving a timeframe for the growth.

Oracle rose 4.7 percent to $26.55 in extended trading. The shares, up 3.4 percent this year, had closed at $25.36 on the Nasdaq Stock Market.

The company, based in Redwood City, California, reports sales that include deferred revenue from acquired businesses and don’t conform to generally accepted accounting principles. On that basis, sales in the period ended Aug. 31 jumped 50 percent to $7.59 billion. Analysts on average predicted $7.32 billion.

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