Japanese internet access provider Softbank Corp has reported its first profit in five years, aided by lower marketing costs and strong subscriber gains. The company posted net income of JPY57.6 billion (USD519 million) for the year ended 31 march 2006, compared with losses of JPY59.9 billion a year earlier. In a statement, the Tokyo-based firm said the gains were assisted by asset sales in the year totalling JPY194.2 billion. Revenues were up 33% to JPY1.11 trillion and the company recorded its first operating profit for ten years of JPY62.3 billion, compared with a loss of JPY25.4 billion in 2005.
Softbank’s Yahoo! BB Internet service is gaining ground on NTT in the broadband internet market by offering cheaper rates and the firm is also entering the cell phone market after buying Vodafone Group local unit for USD15 billion. Softbank Corp, which was established in 1981 as a software retailer, is also testing wireless broadband technology based on WiMAX technology and expanding its faster fibre-optic network.