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Softbank’s Japan operations performed solidly during the third quarter, but the company’s overall results were weighed down by losses at Sprint, its US unit.

The internet powerhouse built by Japanese billionaire Masayoshi Son booked an operating profit of ¥‎295.72bn ($2.63bn) from continuing operations in the three months to December 31. This was down 11.9 per cent from the June quarter, but up 71 per cent from a year ago, and also ahead of the ¥‎264.1bn analysts surveyed by Bloomberg were looking for.

Mr Son grabbed headlines last year for a number of reasons, including Softbank’s acquisition of UK chipmaker ARM Holdings for £24.3bn, plans to launch a $100bn technology fund and a meeting with US President Donald Trump in which he pledged $50bn to invest in US start-ups.

Sales of ¥‎2.31tn were up 7.6 per cent from the June quarter, but down 0.6 per cent from a year ago, with declines at Sprint, the company’s US wireless group, outweighing a slight improvement in revenue in its home market of Japan.

Net profit for the quarter of ¥‎108.27bn compared to ¥‎30.07bn in the second quarter and a loss of ¥‎14.06bn a year ago.

For the nine months to December 31, sales were down fractionally to ¥‎6.58bn and net profit fell by almost one-quarter to ¥‎350.63bn, although operating profit climbed 18 per cent to ¥‎949.66bn.

Softbank is still in the process of turning around Sprint, which it took a stake in in 2013. Sprint said earlier this month it signed up the highest number of mobile phone customers in a quarter for four years. However, its aggressive push came at a cost, with the company reporting a larger loss than analysts expected.

ARM, the UK chipmaker Softbank bought last year, was consolidated in early September and generated revenue of ¥‎54.49bn in the December quarter.

Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2017. All rights reserved.
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