Japanese telco SoftBank sees full-year operating profit stable at $8.6 billion

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TOKYO (Reuters) – Japanese telco SoftBank Corp (T:9434) on Monday forecast operating profit for the current financial year at 920 billion yen ($8.6 billion), largely unchanged from a year earlier.

Japan’s third-largest wireless carrier is a vital source of cash for highly leveraged parent SoftBank Group Corp (T:9984), which is set to post a record annual operating loss next week as Chief Executive Masayoshi Son’s tech investments curdle.

SoftBank Corp reported a 32% rise in operating profit in the three months ended March to 116.6 billion yen, compared with 88.7 billion yen a year earlier.

The result undershot the 127 billion yen average of four analyst estimates in a Refinitiv poll.

The telco is seen as a target for SoftBank Group’s plan to raise up to $41 billion through asset sales to shore up its balance sheet, although analysts expect the parent to retain a controlling stake. It has already pledged part of its stake as collateral for loans.

SoftBank Corp launched next-generation 5G services at the end of March but the industry faces new competition from e-commerce firm Rakuten Inc (T:4755), which has launched aggressively low-priced plans in an attempt to take share from the three incumbents.