SoftBank Group Corp reported a record of 4.03 trillion-yen ($36.99 billion) Vision Fund unit profit from a fourth-quarter investment gain on Coupang. After a year of an unprecedented loss, this has put it among the world’s biggest earning firms.
Group net profit was 4.99 trillion yen ($45.88 billion) in the year ended March. This beat the $42.5 billion made by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc in its last business year. It also compares with a 962-billion-yen loss a year earlier after teetering tech bets depressed the value of Softbank’s portfolio.
Referring to company founder and CEO Masayoshi Son, Navneet Govil, Vision Fund’s chief financial officer said that it is clearly validation of Masa’s thesis. To sustain Softbank’s position among the global corporate elite, Son will have to replicate that fourth-quarter performance with other yet-to-list companies in the Vision fund portfolio. According to Govil, candidates including ride-hailing firm Didi, TikTok owner Bytedance and truck service platform Full Truck Alliance have strong revenue growth, healthy market share and a clear path to profitability. He also said that these companies are sizeable investments, with significant value to be unlocked.
Govil said that SoftBank has hiked its committed capital in the second fund to $30 billion from $10 billion. He also added that the Grab deal offers further upside for the Vision Fund should the transaction go through. And then Son said he may consider inviting third party money into Vision Fund 2. SoftBank has completed a 2.5 trillion-yen buyback programme launched last year. The end of the buyback pulls support at a time when shares are sliding in line with weakness in U.S. tech stocks.