Oracle reports strong rise in Irish profits


THE US software giant Oracle said yesterday its Irish operations had a strong year, contributing to a worldwide annual rise in profits of 33 per cent to $845 million (£556 million), and sales of $5.68 billion (£3.77 billion), a jump of 35 per cent.

The company said exports from Ireland for its fiscal year to the end of May came to $750 million (£493 million), an increase of approximately 20 per cent. Its performance in Ireland was boosted by a major database contract with the Garda Siochana, one of the facility's largest ever.

"The Irish IT market continues to grow at a strong pace," said Mr Kevin Jones, the general manager of Oracle Ireland. "We do not see any signs of this slowing in the immediate future."

Oracle's European business centre, which was officially opened in Dublin last month, currently employs 200 people. The company's Irish payroll is expected to climb to 550 by the end of next year.

The yearly figures for the company as a whole excluded a $24 million aftertax charge in the third quarter for the purchase of research and development from another firm, Datalogix.

The company, based in California, also said its fourth quarter earnings rose 35 per cent, close to Wall Street expectations, on strong sales of its database software and applications.

Oracle said net income for the quarter rose to $360 million compared to $266 million in the same quarter a year ago. Revenue rose 33 per cent to $1.95 billion from $1.46 billion.

"We're really pleased with the quarter because we had an awesome fourth quarter last year," said Mr Jeff Henley, Oracle's chief financial officer. "I'm always concerned when we have to do a tough comparison with a strong quarter."

Geographically, the firm reported fourth quarter growth worldwide despite the negative impact of a strong dollar. Oracle America reported the greatest revenue growth, up 44 per cent, followed by Asia Pacific, up 25 per cent, and Europe, Middle East and Africa - the operations supplied from Ireland - up 20 per cent over the same period last year.

The second biggest software company in the world - after Microsoft - Oracle specialises in writing database software, the computer programmes that big companies use to store large amounts of vital information, such as financial records, inventory lists and customer names.