SoftBank Group Corp has published its financial results for the twelve months ended 31 March 2018, with turnover climbing 2.9% year-on-year to JPY9.159 trillion (USD83.57 billion), up from JPY8.901 trillion in FY2016/17, as adjusted EBITDA improved to JPY2.605 trillion from JPY2.564 trillion. Consolidated net income (attributable to shareholders) stood at JPY1.039 trillion, up sharply from JPY919.631 billion, with the company noting that its full-year CAPEX totalled JPY1.145 trillion (+23.9%). Further, the operator – buoyed by its investments in tech companies across the globe – announced ‘record’ annual operating profit of JPY1.304 trillion, up from JPY1.026 trillion previously, with its founder and CEO Masayoshi Son noting that the group has become ‘a top global technology investor as it looks to create a set of leading companies powered by interconnected devices and artificial intelligence’. Reuters notes that SoftBank’s private equity arm had invested USD29.7 billion in 25 tech firms, such as dog-walking app Wag and construction startup Katerra, as of 31 March 2018, while separately it has invested a total of USD12.9 billion in ride-hailing firms Uber and Didi Chuxing – noting that these investments may be offered to the SoftBank Vision Fund (i.e. a global advisory firm that seeks to make investments in the technology sector) at a later date. In addition, Son recently decided to offload US wireless carrier Sprint Corp, which will merge with T-Mobile US after struggling to compete with bigger rivals.
In its domestic operations, SoftBank reported that full year net sales increased by 1.16% y-o-y to JPY3.230 trillion, although adjusted EBITDA fell 2.6% to JPY1.178 trillion, and CAPEX reached JPY370.387 billion from JPY320.579 billion. The number of cumulative mobile subscribers increased by a net 775,000 y-o-y to 33.175 million, communication modules stood at 6.877 million (down from 6.910 million) and PHS users dropped to 2.598 million; telecom ARPU, meanwhile, fell by a net JPY150 to JPY3,800 a month. Monthly churn of 1.22% in fiscal 2017/18 was a 0.02 pp improvement from 1.24%. Turning to broadband services, SoftBank had a total of 7.039 million connections at 31 March 2017, compared to 6.145 million a year earlier, broken down as SoftBank Hikari (direct fibre) 4.974 million, ‘Yahoo! BB Hikari with FLETS’ (1.061 million) and ‘Yahoo! BB ADSL’ (1.005 million). TeleGeography notes that SoftBank is planning a public listing of its domestic telecoms unit this year. It is also considering raising billions of dollars of loans through its UK-based tech firm ARM Holdings, banking sources said in March.