SoftBank Group's $8.9b Q1 operating profit blows past estimates on Vision Fund gains

The giant technology investor's operating profit for the first quarter was 688.8 billion yen (S$8.9 billion).
The giant technology investor's operating profit for the first quarter was 688.8 billion yen (S$8.9 billion).PHOTO: REUTERS

TOKYO (REUTERS) - Japan's SoftBank Group Corp raked in a better-than-expected quarterly operating profit due to a leap in investing gains from the US$100 billion Vision Fund.

The giant technology investor's operating profit for the first quarter was 688.8 billion yen (S$8.9 billion), down 3.7 per cent from a year ago when results were propped up by a stake sale in chip designer Arm's China business.

The latest results outstripped a 336 billion yen estimate from five analysts compiled by Refinitiv.

SoftBank said on Wednesday (Aug 7) its operating profit at the Saudi-backed US$100 billion Vision Fund surged 66 per cent to 397.6 billion yen for the three months ended June.

SoftBank's results have been increasingly volatile as founder and chief executive Masayoshi Son shifts focus from the predictable income of telecoms in favour of bets on fast-growing startups with shifting valuations.

The group said the fund's US$66.3 billion investments in 81 companies are now worth US$82.2 billion.

The results comes as SoftBank prepares to launch a second Vision Fund for which it said last week it has secured US$108 billion in pledges.

SoftBank plans to commit US$38 billion to the new fund. It will be reliant on proceeds from the first Vision Fund to bankroll the contribution, a source has told Reuters.

CEO Mr Son will speak at a news conference from 4pm local time (3pm SGT).