May 28, 2024

TOKYO (AP) — SoftBank Group trimmed its losses for the fiscal year through March to about a quarter of the red ink it racked up a year earlier, as its investment losses declined, the Japanese technology company said Monday.

Annual sales at Tokyo-based SoftBank Group Corp. rose 2.8% to 6.76 trillion yen ($43 billion). Losses for the fiscal year sank to 227.6 billion yen ($1.5 billion) from a 970 billion yen loss in the previous year.

By quarter, SoftBank Group, which invests in artificial intelligence, robotics, autonomous driving and other technology, recorded its second straight quarterly profit, at 231 billion yen ($1.5 billion) for January-March, a turnaround from a 57.6 billion yen loss a year earlier.

Its two latest quarters in the black followed four straight quarters of losses.

Investment losses for the fiscal year included Alibaba, a Chinese technology company with e-commerce, cloud computing and digital media operations, which offset gains from its holdings in T- Mobile.

The value of British semiconductor and software design company Arm, a SoftBank subsidiary, has surged in recent months, but that wasn’t reflected in the earnings results. Arm listed on the Nasdaq last year.

In its SoftBank Vision Fund of investments, some shares lost value. Among them was WeWork, a provider of shared work spaces, which filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection last year. Such minuses were offset by gains from other holdings, like ByteDance, the Chinese owner of the popular video-sharing app TikTok.

SoftBank, led and founded by billionaire visionary Masayoshi Son, also invests in Yahoo Japan and Line. Son is expected to make his pitch for the future of AI at the shareholders’ meeting later this year, although he skipped the earnings presentation.

When a reporter asked why Son wasn’t present, Chief Financial Officer Yoshimitsu Goto said Son was busy focusing on new efforts in what the company is calling “the AI age.”

Overall, from their inception, the SoftBank Vision Fund 1 has logged a gain of $16.7 billion, while SVF2 has lost $19.3 billion. Both funds racked up losses for the fiscal year that ended in March.

Goto stressed the early hard years were now over for Vision Fund investments, and they’re expected to become stable.

“The performance will improve in a big way,” he told reporters.


Yuri Kageyama is on X: