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Oracle bounces back with 46 per cent profit rise

The doomsayers of yesteryear are eating quantities of humble pie

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Oracle has beaten financial expectations with the announcement of a stonking 46 per cent rise in quarterly profits, with strong computer services revenues helping it past expectations. Net income for Q2 (ended 3o November) jumped to $274 million from last year's disappointing $187 million. Turnover grew 27 per cent to $2.1 billion, ahead of Wall Street predictions, while database business jumped 25 per cent to $1.5 billion. After last year's results, analysts said the market for Oracle's flagship database software had "matured" and the world's second largest software company had lost focus. Oracle also became the first US high technology company to report problems in Asia, with investors turning white over the resultant 30 per cent share drop. Yesterday analysts were eating their words as Jeff Henley, Oracle's chief financial officer, proclaimed the market "still very attractive". He added: "We're delighted with our database performance in the Americas and Europe." He estimated a full recovery in Asia was still some years away, and noted limited growth in the area, saying: "At least Asia has done better than it has in the past five quarters". Analysts agreed Oracle had managed to resuscitate the database market. But they warned that the threat of Microsoft's SQL Server 7.0, designed to attack the low end of the database arena, still loomed. ®

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