SoftBank Group net profit soars to $11.1 bn in third quarter

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SoftBank's bottoom line has been boosted by a surge in stock markets

SoftBank Group on Monday said net profit rocketed to $11.1 billion in the third quarter as stock rallies and asset sales helped it solidify its recovery.

Net profit for October-December hit 1,171.9 billion yen, more than 21 times higher than the 55.0 billion yen reported a year earlier, the conglomerate said.

Despite the results, SoftBank Group said it would not provide "forecasts of consolidated results of operations as they are difficult to project due to numerous uncertainties affecting earnings".

But the economic crisis that has accompanied the coronavirus pandemic has worked largely in SoftBank's favour, with rallies in tech stocks it owns and rising valuations for firms in its portfolio suited to the era, including food delivery.

SoftBank reported a nearly $9 billion net loss in the previous full fiscal year, but has quickly returned to the black.

Founder Masayoshi Son, who has transformed the telecoms company into an investment and tech behemoth, has battled critics of his commitment to sometimes troubled start-ups, and brushed aside doubts over a massive asset sale programme.

SoftBank has stakes in some of Silicon Valley's hottest start-ups through its $100 billion Vision Fund.

And Son has consistently backed the firm's worth, insisting its stock has been undervalued and its fundamentals remain strong despite wobbles including over office-sharing start-up WeWork.

Government stimulus designed to combat the economic effects of the pandemic have helped bolster stock markets, to SoftBank's benefit, said Masahiko Ishino, an analyst at Tokai Tokyo Research Institute.

The firm and its SoftBank Vision Fund "took full advantage of monetary easing", he told AFP before the results were released.

si/sah/dan