Saudi Arabia-backed fund helps push SoftBank profit higher

Under tycoon CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, which started as a software firm, has increasingly been seen as an investment firm, plowing funds into a broad range of companies and projects. (AFP)
Updated 06 February 2019
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Saudi Arabia-backed fund helps push SoftBank profit higher

  • Investment vehicles led by KSA-partnered Vision Fund see gains of more than $7.3bn
  • SoftBank has completed deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba

TOKYO: Japan’s SoftBank Group said on Wednesday its net profit jumped more than 50 percent for the nine months to December thanks to strong returns from its high-tech investment fund.
Net profit rose 51.6 percent from a year earlier to 1.5 trillion yen ($13.7 billion), the mobile giant and IT investor said.
The rise was largely driven by gains of more than 800 billion yen from its investment funds, led by SoftBank Vision Fund whose partners include Saudi Arabia.
SoftBank Corp, the mobile carrier arm of the technology conglomerate, said Tuesday its net profit jumped nearly 19 percent for the nine months to December, buoyed by a gain in subscribers.
It was the first earnings announcement since its disappointing stock market debut in December.
Under tycoon CEO Masayoshi Son, SoftBank, which started as a software firm, has increasingly been seen as an investment firm, plowing funds into a broad range of companies and projects outside its core business.
In recent years, it has completed deals with the likes of French robotics firm Aldebaran and Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba.
It has also made high-profile investments in the autonomous vehicles sector, announcing a tie-up with car giant Toyota for “new mobility services” such as meal deliveries.


Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

Updated 21 February 2019
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Turkey set to begin oil and gas drilling off Cyprus

  • “In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Turkish foreign minister said
  • Turkey and the Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction in the eastern Mediterranean

ISTANBUL: Turkey will begin drilling for oil and gas near Cyprus in coming days, state-owned news agency Anadolu reported Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu saying on Thursday, a move that could stoke tensions with neighboring Cyprus and Greece.
Turkey and the internationally recognized Greek Cypriot government have overlapping claims of jurisdiction for offshore oil and gas research in the eastern Mediterranean, a region thought to be rich in natural gas.
“In the coming days we will start drilling with two ships around Cyprus,” Cavusoglu was quoted as saying in a speech to a business conference in western Turkey’s Aydin province.
“Let those who come to the region from far away, and their companies, see that nothing can be done in that region without us. Nothing at all can be done in the Mediterranean without Turkey, we will not allow that,” Cavusoglu said.
Turkey launched its first drillship “Fatih” in October to drill off the coast of Turkey’s southern Antalya province. It said a second ship that it purchased would operate in the Black Sea, but was diverted to the Cyprus area.
Breakaway north Cyprus, which is supported by Turkey, says any offshore wealth also belongs to them, as partners in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus in 1960.
The island was divided in 1974 after a Turkish invasion triggered by a brief Greek-inspired coup. Countless peacemaking endeavours have failed, and offshore wealth has increasingly complicated peace negotiations, with Greek Cypriots saying the matter is not up for discussion.