SoftBank H1 net profit surges to $18 billion

TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank Group said on Monday its first-half net profit more than quadrupled, sealing a strong recovery after a massive annual loss, as tech stocks rally and the firm sheds assets to shore up its finances.
Net profit for the six months to September came to 1.88 trillion yen ($18 billion), up from 421.6 billion yen a year earlier.
The profit surge was mainly driven by gains on its investments, which topped two trillion yen for the period.
However, it said it would not offer a forecast “as it is difficult to foresee consolidated results due to numerous uncertain factors”.
SoftBank reported a nearly $9 billion net loss in the previous full fiscal year, but quickly returned to the black in the first quarter.
Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute, said the firm had displayed “a steady performance” in line with robust gains in the global equities markets.
Founder Masayoshi Son has transformed the telecoms company into an investment and tech behemoth with stakes in some of Silicon Valley’s hottest start-ups through its $100 billion Vision Fund. He has battled opposition to his strategy of pouring money into start-ups — including troubled office-sharing firm WeWork — which some analysts say are overvalued and lack clear profit models.
Son has insisted his strategy is sound, and that SoftBank’s portfolio is broad enough to weather the storm.
“There were people who concluded that the Vision Fund was over” because of WeWork, Son told reporters on Monday. “No way! It only started.”
He said the company will now focus on the “AI revolution” and will invest in listed companies, which he called the “real contenders” in the artificial intelligence sector.
The firm said its SoftBank Vision Fund saw strong results thanks to recovering stock markets and increases in portfolio firms where “exits have been decided or have new funding rounds, or (which) are benefiting from the accelerated adoption of digital services during the COVID-19 crisis”.— AFP