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SoftBank Vision Fund posts $26 billion loss; Son pledges defence

By Sam Nussey TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's SoftBank Group Corp reported a record $26.2 billion loss at its Vision Fund investment arm on Thursday, as rising interest rates and...
SoftBank Vision Fund posts $26 billion loss; Son pledges defence © Reuters. FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp's logo is pictured at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon

By Sam Nussey

TOKYO (Reuters) -Japan's SoftBank Group Corp reported a record $26.2 billion loss at its Vision Fund investment arm on Thursday, as rising interest rates and political instability whiplashed high-growth tech stocks.

The loss was in stark contrast to a year earlier when SoftBank delivered a record annual profit, putting founder and CEO Masayoshi Son's strategy of concentrating heavily on riskier, high-growth stocks under more scrutiny.

Investors are now increasingly questioning whether many of the once high-flyers it has invested in have a clear path to profitability. South Korean e-commerce firm Coupang is trading 70% below its listing price. Ridehailers Didi Global Inc and Grab Holdings, also tumbled during the January-March quarter.

"When the world is in disorder, SoftBank should play defence," Son said at a subdued briefing following the earnings announcement, pledging to bolster the group's cash position through asset monetisation and tighten investment criteria.

Son's earnings presentations are closely watched for clues into his thinking about the future of the sprawling tech conglomerate. On Thursday, he repeatedly emphasised the group's financial prudence and the prospects for chip designer Arm, which SoftBank hopes to list in the United States.

Vision Fund has 475 companies in its portfolio and made 43 investments during the fourth quarter. It is slowing the pace of investment as private prices lag the fall in public markets.

While 20 portfolio companies raised funds at higher valuations during the quarter, SoftBank also marked down some of its unlisted assets, in sectors such as consumer, fintech and transportation, contributing to the record loss.

REVOLUTION, DELAYED

SoftBank was likely to invest half or even a quarter as much as last year, Son said, as part of a pledge to keep the group's loan-to-value ratio, which was 20.4% at March-end, below 25%.

Son, 64, has described SoftBank as a goose laying golden eggs but the pace of listings has slowed with one notable recent exception, Indonesia's GoTo, sliding since going public last month.

SoftBank's own shares fell 8% ahead of earnings to 4,491 yen and are down more than half from highs in March last year. The group is 40% through a 1 trillion yen buyback programme launched in November.

The group's annual net loss was 1.7 trillion yen ($13.15 billion). The Vision Fund unit's assets, including the Latin American funds, were worth $175.6 billion at March-end. That compared to an acquisition cost of $141.6 billion.

SoftBank also recorded, in its non-consolidated earnings, a 669.5 billion yen loss due to its SB Northstar trading arm, which placed bets on listed stocks and derivatives but racked up personal losses for Son.

The unit's activity was part of a push to diversify SoftBank's portfolio beyond e-commerce company Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), whose shares have fallen by more than two thirds as regulatory action roils China tech companies.

"There are wonderful companies in China and we will invest in them but with smaller deals," said Son.

Even as Son emphasised his current conservatism, the billionaire reiterated his belief in the "information revolution" with a graph showing the current market downturn as a blip before internet companies resumed their upward climb.

"In a year or two I think the stock market will recover and then the timing to go on the offensive will return," Son said.

($1 = 129.2600 yen)

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    EUR/USD 1.0556 Buy  
    GBP/USD 1.2491 ↑ Buy  
    USD/JPY 127.92 ↑ Buy  
    AUD/USD 0.7042 ↑ Buy  
    USD/CAD 1.2835 ↑ Sell  
    EUR/JPY 135.03 ↑ Buy  
    EUR/CHF 1.0293 ↑ Buy  
    Gold 1,843.69 ↑ Buy  
    Silver 21.747 Neutral  
    Copper 4.3027 ↑ Buy  
    Crude Oil WTI 110.62 ↑ Sell  
    Brent Oil 112.97 ↑ Sell  
    Natural Gas 8.070 ↑ Sell  
    US Coffee C 216.48 ↑ Buy  
    Euro Stoxx 50 3,657.03 ↑ Buy  
    S&P 500 3,901.36 ↑ Buy  
    DAX 13,981.91 Buy  
    FTSE 100 7,389.98 Neutral  
    Hang Seng 20,717.24 ↑ Sell  
    Small Cap 2000 1,768.35 ↑ Buy  
    IBEX 35 8,484.50 Neutral  
    BASF 48.850 Buy  
    Bayer 63.74 Buy  
    Allianz 195.58 Buy  
    Adidas 172.80 Buy  
    Lufthansa 6.852 ↑ Sell  
    Siemens AG 115.08 Neutral  
    Deutsche Bank AG 9.362 Buy  
Mua/Bán 1 chỉ SJC
# So hôm qua # Chênh TG
SJC Eximbank6,875/ 6,975
(0/ 0) # 1,795
SJC HCM6,890/ 6,980
(0/ 0) # 1,798
SJC Hanoi6,890/ 6,982
(0/ 0) # 1,800
SJC Danang6,890/ 6,982
(0/ 0) # 1,800
SJC Nhatrang6,890/ 6,982
(0/ 0) # 1,800
SJC Cantho6,890/ 6,982
(0/ 0) # 1,800
Cập nhật 21-05-2022 03:23:23
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ↀ Giá vàng thế giới
$1,845.26 +3 0.16%
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Sản phẩm Vùng 1 Vùng 2
RON 95-V30.58031.190
RON 95-III29.98030.570
E5 RON 92-II28.95029.520
DO 0.05S26.65027.180
DO 0,001S-V27.45027.990
Dầu hỏa 2-K25.16025.660
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WTI $110.69 -0.27 -0.24%
Brent $113.03 -0.45 -0.40%
$ Tỷ giá Vietcombank
Ngoại tệMua vàoBán ra
USD23.000,0023.310,00
EUR23.879,5425.217,23
GBP28.128,1029.328,16
JPY176,49186,84
KRW15,8019,26
Cập nhật lúc 18:52:01 20/05/2022
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