Tech firm Softbank reports 12% rise in first-quarter profits

Japanese technology giant SoftBank Group Corp has said its profit rose by 12% in the April-June period from a year earlier as its investments added to its coffers.

Tokyo-based SoftBank reported a fiscal first-quarter profit of 1.2 trillion yen (£8.78 billion) on Tuesday, up from 1.1 trillion yen (£7.92 billion) in the previous fiscal year.

Quarterly sales inched down 2% to 1.45 trillion yen (£10.4 billion).

SoftBank, whose group includes the carrier that introduced the iPhone to Japan, said it has been shoring up its cash reserves and acknowledged it was worried about a second or third wave of the coronavirus pandemic.

The company compared the crisis to the hard times of the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

SoftBank announced last month that it is setting up a new subsidiary company to carry out coronavirus tests and will start giving them first to its employees and members of the SoftBank Hawks professional baseball team.

The firm got a lift from US carrier Sprint’s merger with T-Mobile, a deal in the works for a few years that was finally completed in April. That means Sprint is no longer part of SoftBank’s group or earnings.

Other companies in the SoftBank fold include British “Internet of Things” company Arm and Brightstar Corp, a US wireless service provider. The Pepper humanoid robot is also a SoftBank product.

SoftBank also benefited from its Vision Fund investments, as it sold parts of its global portfolio, and stock prices of its holdings recovered, it said.