Oracle (Nasdaq: ORCL ) may not be the most exciting stock on the market, but the company delivers on its long-term goals with robotic precision.
The database giant reported fourth-quarter results Wednesday night, with 24% year-over-year revenue growth to $7.2 billion, and non-GAAP earnings of $0.47 per share -- 27% above the year-ago quarter.
Four years ago, management set out on a quest to deliver compound annual earnings-per-share growth of at least 20% for the next five years. After this report, which delivered somewhat stronger results than the long-term goal, the four-year tally stands at 26% on a non-GAAP basis or just a hair over 20% in GAAP terms. Save for a tough stretch in calendar year 2006, we've come to expect Oracle's results to satisfy like clockwork, and today is no different.
And management now thinks that the five-year goal line could be moved out a few years. Describing Oracle's business model of pushing the market-leading database solution and then getting the customers on the hook for related middleware and business intelligence products as well, CFO Safra Katz said that "these products are very synergistic and we really feel that our strategy has a lot of time ahead of it. In fact, as far as a nine-inning baseball game, I'm not sure we are even in the second inning at this point." Taking that baseball analogy to its logical conclusion, Oracle could grow at this pace for the next 18 years. Suck on that, SAP (NYSE: SAP ) and IBM (NYSE: IBM ) !
Katz's comment was probably more tongue-in-cheek than serious forecasting, though. The point is, Oracle's top brass sees a strong future for the current business model, come recessions or high water. That means more upsells, probably more growth by acquisition (hello, TIBCO (Nasdaq: TIBX ) , or maybe Interwoven (Nasdaq: IWOV ) -- unless I'm right about a massive Oracle-SAP combination), and of course many more quarters of boring, predictable, market-beating growth.