SoftBank says first-half net profit soar 346.7 pct to $18 bln in strong recovery

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SoftBank Group said on Monday its first-half net profit soared 346.7 percent, sealing a strong recovery after a massive annual loss, as tech stocks rally and the firm sheds assets to shore up its finances.

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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 Japanese conglomerate said.

The profit surge was mainly due to gains on its investments, which topped two trillion yen for the period.

SoftBank, however, 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 SoftBank had displayed “a steady performance” in line with robust gains in the global equity market.

SoftBank founder Masayoshi Son has transformed a 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 that his strategy is sound, and that SoftBank’s portfolio is broad enough to weather the storm.

The results come after SoftBank launched an aggressive plan to sell up to $41 billion in assets to finance a stock buy-back and reduce the firm’s debt.

In September, SoftBank Group announced an agreement to sell British chip designer Arm to US firm NVIDIA for up to $40 billion, potentially creating a new giant in the industry.

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