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

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.


Huawei given 90 days to buy from US suppliers

Trader Tommy Kalikas works on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Monday, Aug. 19, 2019. (AP)
Updated 20 August 2019

Huawei given 90 days to buy from US suppliers

  • Shortly after blacklisting the company in May, the Commerce Department initially allowed Huawei to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers

WASHINGTON: US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Monday the US government will extend a reprieve given to Huawei Technologies that permits the Chinese firm to buy supplies from US companies so that it can service existing customers, even as nearly 50 of its units were being added to a US economic blacklist.
The “temporary general license,” due to expire on Monday, will be extended for Huawei for 90 days, he told Fox Business Network Monday, confirming an expected decision first reported Friday by Reuters. He also said he was adding 46 Huawei affiliates to the Entity List, raising the total number to more than 100 Huawei entities that are covered by the restrictions.
Ross said the extension was to aid US customers, many of which operate networks in rural America.
“We’re giving them a little more time to wean themselves off,” Ross said.
Shortly after blacklisting the company in May, the Commerce Department initially allowed Huawei to purchase some American-made goods in a move aimed at minimizing disruption for its customers.
The extension, through Nov. 19, renews an agreement continuing the Chinese company’s ability to maintain existing telecommunications networks and provide software updates to Huawei handsets.
Asked what will happen in November to US companies, Ross said: “Everybody has had plenty of notice of it, there have been plenty of discussions with the president.”
When the Commerce Department blocked Huawei from buying US goods earlier this year, it was seen as a major escalation in the Sino-US trade war.
The US government blacklisted Huawei, alleging the Chinese company is involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.

BACKGROUND

The US blacklisted Huawei, alleging the Chinese company was involved in activities contrary to national security or foreign policy interests.

As an example, the blacklisting order cited a pending federal criminal case concerning allegations Huawei violated US sanctions against Iran. Huawei has pleaded not guilty in the case.

The order noted that the indictment also accused Huawei of “deceptive and obstructive acts.”
At the same time the US says Huawei’s smartphones and network equipment could be used by China to spy on Americans, allegations the company has repeatedly denied.
Huawei, the world’s largest telecommunications equipment maker, is still prohibited from buying American parts and components to manufacture new products without additional special licenses.
Many Huawei suppliers have requested the special licenses to sell to the firm. Ross told reporters late last month he had received more than 50 applications, and that he expected to receive more. He said on Monday that there were no “specific licenses being granted for anything.”