• Kyodo


SoftBank Group Corp. said Wednesday its group net profit in the year that ended March 31 more than tripled from a year earlier to a record ¥1.43 trillion ($12.5 billion), reflecting the improving profitability of U.S. unit Sprint Corp. and strength in its domestic telecommunications business.

Operating profit in fiscal 2016 totaled ¥1.03 trillion, up 12.9 percent, with sales up 0.2 percent to ¥8.90 trillion, the telecommunications and internet services giant said.

The turnaround at U.S. mobile carrier Sprint, bought by SoftBank in 2013, contributed to the strong results as the Sprint business segment posted a profit of ¥186.42 billion, more than triple a year earlier.

SoftBank also owns British semiconductor designer ARM Holdings PLC and its stake helped to boost the Tokyo-based company’s earnings as well.

SoftBank completed its $31 billion acquisition of ARM last September, the largest foreign acquisition by a Japanese company, with the aim of gaining a strong foothold in internet of things networks connecting everything from home appliances to cars and factories.

The domestic telecommunications segment at SoftBank raised ¥719.57 billion in profit, helped by increased sales of broadband internet connection services.

Speaking at a Tokyo news conference, Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son admitted that SoftBank had been approached by Taiwan’s Hon Hai Precision Industry Co. regarding a possible acquisition of Toshiba Corp.’s memory chip unit.

“It is true that we were approached for talks,” Son said.

Hon Hai, which bought Japanese display maker Sharp Corp. last year, has reportedly been considering teaming up with SoftBank to acquire Toshiba Memory Corp. in the hope of keeping the government from blocking the deal. Tokyo fears that a sale of the Toshiba unit to a foreign company could undermine national security.

SoftBank did not release annual earnings forecasts, citing uncertainties. For the whole of fiscal 2017, the company said it plans to pay a dividend ¥44 of per share.

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