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SoftBank logs record $23 bil. loss in April-June, Vision Fund tumbles

This file photo shows the logo of SoftBank Group Corp. in Tokyo. (Mainichi)

TOKYO (Kyodo) -- SoftBank Group Corp. on Monday reported a record net loss of 3.16 trillion yen ($23.4 billion) in the April-June quarter, the largest quarterly loss ever by a Japanese company, after its Vision Fund sustained hefty losses amid the global market slump.

    The result follows a net loss of 2.1 trillion in the previous quarter ended March and is a sharp turnaround from the 761.51 billion yen in profit in the same three-month period last year.

    "This is our biggest loss since our company started," Chairman and CEO Masayoshi Son told a press conference. "I deeply regret the results and I hope to learn a lesson from it."

    Revenue rose 6.3 percent to 1.57 trillion yen in the first quarter of the business year through March 2023, the company said.

    SoftBank Group did not release its full-year forecast.

    The red ink largely reflects a loss of 2.9 trillion yen from its Vision Fund business, which focuses on investment in startups with growth potential, on the back of fears of a global recession after Russia's invasion of Ukraine drove inflation sharply higher.

    The funds booked large losses from companies such as South Korean e-commerce giant Coupang Inc., Chinese artificial intelligence developer SenseTime Group Inc. and U.S. food delivery service DoorDash Inc.

    Son said the size of each investment was kept smaller than earlier but the total scale of the Vision Fund operations, which include the original $100 billion fund, led to the huge loss.

    The company also booked a foreign exchange loss of 820 billion as the yen's substantial depreciation boosted its yen-based payment for debt denominated in dollars.

    The plunge into huge loss comes after the investment giant reported a swing to a record net loss of 1.71 trillion yen in the business year ended March from a record profit the year before, highlighting the business volatility at SoftBank Group, a leading listed company in Japan.

    SoftBank set up massive funds called SoftBank Vision Funds as it shifted its business focus to investments in global startups from telecommunications services.

    Son said he plans to cut back workforce in the Vision Funds business, saying that the huge loss cannot justify the current size of employees. He did not specify the exact size of the job cuts.

    "We have to cut costs without sanctuary," Son said. "We will have to review our workforce globally."

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