• Kyodo

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SoftBank Group Corp.’s group net profit in the April-June period fell 97.8 percent from a year earlier to ¥5.52 billion, following a one-time gain last year from the sale of shares in an affiliate.

The telecommunications and internet services giant said its group operating profit grew 50.1 percent to ¥479.27 billion on improving profitability at U.S. mobile carrier subsidiary Sprint Corp. Sales rose 2.8 percent to ¥2.19 trillion.

At a news conference Monday, Chief Executive Officer Masayoshi Son attributed the plunge in net profit to a temporary gain last year from selling a portion of its shareholdings in Chinese e-commerce affiliate Alibaba Group Holdings Ltd.

SoftBank is still the biggest shareholder in Alibaba.

Son also said he expects a newly launched technology fund to boost the company’s profits in the future, after launching the $93 billion private equity investment vehicle with Saudi Arabia’s sovereign wealth fund along with Apple Inc. and other investors.

Profit in the Sprint business segment grew almost threefold to ¥131.99 billion from a year earlier on increased sales and smaller operating expenses.

Meanwhile, profit in SoftBank’s domestic telecommunications segment dropped 8.6 percent to ¥218.47 billion due to a sales fall in communications services and increased sales costs

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