Oracle revenue falls short of expectations as cloud competition rises

(Reuters) -Enterprise software firm Oracle Corp fell short of Wall Street expectations for first-quarter revenue on Monday, hurt by competition in the cloud computing space.

Shares of the Austin, Texas-based company pared losses and were down 1.4% in extended trading after the company forecast second quarter adjusted earnings per share above expectations.

The company expects adjusted earnings per share to be between $1.09 and $1.13, above analysts’ average estimate of $1.08, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Analysts say Oracle, whose shares have risen about 40% this year, is well positioned to benefit from cloud computing but a crowded space of rivals, including Microsoft Corp’s Azure, Inc’s Amazon Web Services, and IBM Corp, will keep the heat on the company.

“Expectations would be for revenue forecasts to continue moving higher,” said Jack Andrews, analyst at Needham & Co.

To bolster its footing in the cloud computing space, Oracle, which counts Zoom Video Communications as one of its customers, has been ramping up investment to set up more data centers that can be rented out to clients as they expand and shift operations to the cloud.

Oracle said its two new cloud businesses, software-as-a-service and infrastructure-as-a-service, made up 25% of the company’s total revenue with an annual run rate of $10 billion.

“While it’s unclear how this contribution compares with expectations, it’s fair to say this is an additional data point indicating Oracle is behind some competitors in a significant way,” said Scott Kessler, analyst at Third Bridge.

Total revenue rose 4% to $9.73 billion in the quarter ended Aug. 31. Analysts were expecting revenue of $9.77 billion.

Excluding items, Oracle earned $1.03 per share, topping analysts’ expectations of 97 cents per share.

(Reporting by Chavi Mehta in Bengaluru; Editing by Krishna Chandra Eluri)