SoftBank's net profit more than doubles in 1st quarter

TOKYO —

Japanese mobile operator SoftBank on Tuesday said its net profit for the April-June quarter more than doubled from a year earlier thanks to rosy results at a mobile game subsidiary.

The company, which recently completed its $21.6 billion purchase of U.S. wireless carrier Sprint Nextel, said it earned 238.3 billion yen in the fiscal first quarter, up from 105.6 billion yen in the same period last year. It added that a change in the way it reports, to international standards, also hiked its results.

Revenue jumped 21.4% to 881.1 billion yen in the three months, it said. Sprint is not yet included in the firm’s results.

The profit and sales gains were tied to brisk earnings from newly consolidated mobile games developer GungHo Online Entertainment, developer of the hit mobile game “Puzzle & Dragons”, and upbeat results from its domestic mobile service, it said.

Japan’s number three telecom operator did not give a full-year forecast, but president Masayoshi Son has said group operating profit would top one trillion yen in the current fiscal year ending in March 2014.

SoftBank has also benefited from growing demand at home for Apple’s iPhone and was the only Japanese mobile operator to offer the popular smartphone until rival KDDI, the country’s second-largest operator, joined the fray.

SoftBank’s whopping takeover of Sprint will give it a foothold in the lucrative US telecom market, but some have cast doubt on the deal, which will see heavily indebted SoftBank take on even more loans.

And Sprint’s own performance suffered again in the latest quarter as it reported a deepening $1.6 billion loss.

Earlier this month, Moody’s downgraded SoftBank’s debt to junk, citing worries over the firm’s financial position after the debt-financed deal, the largest overseas acquisition by a Japanese firm.

(C) 2013 AFP

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