Oracle Corp Chief Executive Larry Ellison said on Saturday he expected Sun Microsystems, the unprofitable hardware maker that he bought last month for $7.5 billion, to be making a profit soon.

Oracle executives have previously declined to say how long it would take for Sun to start turning a profit, although they have promised it would add $1.5 billion to operating profit within a year. The company had posted losses of more than $2 billion in the two years prior to its sale.

But Ellison, asked by reporters how the Sun integration was going on the sidelines of a news conference on Saturday in San Francisco, said: I think it's going really well and we expect to be profitable right away.

Some analysts are skeptical that Ellison will be able to quickly turn around Sun, which never fully recovered from the bursting of the dot-com bubble in the early 2000s that savaged demand for its high-end computers.

He made the comments in his hometown after returning from Valencia, Spain, to show off the trophy he won for defeating rival billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli in the America's Cup sailing race.

Ellison vowed to defend his title. But the 65-year-old, who founded Oracle more than 30 years ago, also said he has no intention of retiring from his position at the helm of Oracle to focus on sailing.

I love Oracle and I love sailing, and I think I can do both, he said, after accepting a key to the city from San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, who, like Ellison, wants to see the next America's Cup race held in San Francisco Bay.

It certainly makes commuting easier, joked Ellison, whose Redwood City-based company is about 25 miles (40km) south of San Francisco.

(Reporting by Braden Reddall in San Francisco and Jim Finkle in Boston; Editing by Bill Trott)