Japan's SoftBank returns to profit on global stock boom

Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. says it returned to profitability in the fiscal year that ended in March, boosted by the strong performance of its sprawling investments as stock prices surged

TOKYO -- Japanese technology conglomerate SoftBank Group Corp. returned to profitability for the fiscal year that ended in March, it said Wednesday, boosted by the strong performance of its sprawling investments as stock prices surged.

Tokyo-based SoftBank reported a 4.99 trillion yen ($36 billion) profit, a dramatic reversal from the 962 billion yen loss logged during the previous fiscal year. It did not break down quarterly results.

Sales for the fiscal year totaled 5.6 trillion yen ($51 billion), up 7%.

Sales of SoftBank's assets helped boost its bottom line by 5.6 trillion yen ($51 billion) from April to September 2020. The company sold holdings in U.S. mobile company T-Mobile, Chinese technology company Alibaba and Japanese telecommunications company SoftBank Corp. SoftBank was the first to offer the Apple iPhone in the Japanese market.

SoftBank also reduced its debt by 1 trillion yen ($9 billion) this fiscal year by repurchasing corporate bonds and repaying loans.

SoftBank Chief Executive Masayoshi Son told reporters he was proud about how he had grown the company from humble beginnings four decades ago in Fukuoka, southern Japan, to a giant that counts its profits in trillions.

Son acknowledged regrets over investment “mistakes,” pointing to WeWork, a U.S. office-sharing business. But SoftBank’s two Vision Funds for investments, which also have had their up and downs, are showing profitability, Son added.

He gave as an example of how his vision works the sale of SoftBank’s holdings in British semiconductor and software design company Arm to U.S. technology giant Nvidia. Part of that purchase was paid for in Nvidia shares, making SoftBank a major shareholder in an artificial intelligence company, said Son.

“My story has barely started,” he said, stressing his dedication to his dream for a technology “revolution.”

“That is the most important thing for me.”

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