TOKYO: SoftBank Group Corp. reported Wednesday a net profit of almost 5 trillion yen in fiscal 2020, the highest ever by a Japanese company.
The technology investment company posted a consolidated net profit of 4,987,962 million yen in the year that ended in March.
Returns on investments made through its affiliated fund ballooned as the global stock market upswing boosted the value of foreign startups in which the group has invested.
The profit figure showed a dramatic turnaround from the previous fiscal year, when the company logged a net loss of 961,576 million yen.
The rapid recovery in earnings was fueled by steady investment operations to take advantage of global digitalization and hopes for economic recovery after the novel coronavirus pandemic is brought to an end.
The core SoftBank Vision Fund 1 and 2 turned a profit of 6,292,024 million yen, compared with the previous year’s loss of 1,844,867 million yen. Valuation gains went up after U.S. food delivery startup DoorDash and major South Korean e-commerce company Coupang went public.
Investments by the group itself resulted in a profit of 945,944 million yen, up from 484,308 million yen, thanks to the sale of shares in U.S. mobile carrier T-Mobile US Inc.
The net profit far exceeded the previous record for a Japanese company of 2,493,983 million yen, marked by Toyota Motor Corp. in fiscal 2017, and put SoftBank Group on a par with global giants such as U.S. technology powerhouse Apple Inc., which boasts the world’s highest net profit, at the equivalent of over 6 trillion yen.
SoftBank Group’s sales in the latest reporting year came to 5,628,167 million yen, up 7.4 pct from the previous year, bolstered by steady business at its mobile phone carrier unit SoftBank Corp.
At a press conference the same day, SoftBank Group Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son voiced eagerness to invest in artificial intelligence-related businesses such as those dealing with autonomous driving and cutting-edge semiconductors, saying, “AI will revolutionize industries.”
He added that more companies in SoftBank Group’s investment portfolio will go public in 2021 than did the previous year.
In March last year, SoftBank Group announced a plan to sell a total of 4.5 trillion yen in assets amid a global drop in stock prices due to the coronavirus pandemic. By the end of September that year, the company had completed the sale of assets worth 5.6 trillion yen, and also signed a deal to sell its stake in British semiconductor designer Arm Ltd.
SoftBank Group’s earnings report is based on international accounting standards.
The company did not release an earnings forecast for the current fiscal year.