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…this kind of news makes you think perhaps this short film that Softbank made last year was a bit too hasty..,3699,2411541,00.html



Tuesday November 20 1:46 PM ET

Softbank Racks Up Investment Losses

By YURI KAGEYAMA, AP Business Writer

TOKYO (AP) – Japanese Internet giant Softbank Corp. (news – web sites) recorded 54.3 billion yen ($441 million) in losses for the first fiscal half, largely because of crumbling losses in investments that had once formed its global empire.

The earnings results for the six months ended in September marks a gradual reversal of fortune for the Tokyo-based company, praised for years here as a pioneer in the Internet as well as in venture businesses reflected in the risk-taking spirit of its U.S.-educated president Masayoshi Son.

In the previous fiscal year, Softbank had posted a profit of 36 billion yen for the first half and 37 billion yen in profit for the full year ended in March on strong earnings from its Internet financial services. Softbank didn’t give an earnings forecast for the year ending in March 2002.

For the first half, Softbank recorded sales of 183 billion yen ($1.5 billion), up 2 percent from 180 billion yen a year ago on strong earnings from Yahoo! and Softbank Commerce, an electronic commerce unit.

The company, however, took a special charge of 71 billion yen ($577 million), including about 56 billion yen ($455 million) in securities holdings-related losses.

While acknowledging uncertainties remained both in the global economies and the stock market, Softbank reaffirmed its faith in the digital industry as a viable business for the future, if not the immediate future.

Softbank said it will continue to work on a recently started high-speed Internet-access service in Japan.

Officials said they will more strictly monitor the performance of the companies they invest in. They said they already withdrawn from eight companies during the first half and plans to abandon 10 more during the rest of the fiscal year. Softbank owns stakes in about 400 group companies.

In Tokyo trading, ended shortly before the earnings announcement, Softbank shares closed down 2 percent at 2,635 yen ($21).