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SoftBank's humanoid robot is $274m in debt

Robotics subsidiary gushing red ink as prices lag behind costs

SoftBank's humanoid robot Pepper is having profitability problems due to its cheap price.

TOKYO -- SoftBank Robotics, developer of the Pepper humanoid robot, continues to bleed red ink as sales fail to soak up development costs.

Parent company SoftBank Group group will aid its unlisted robotics subsidiary by providing funds and sales support.

SoftBank Robotics' liabilities exceeded its assets by 31.4 billion yen ($274 million), according to financial statements submitted to the Kanto Local Finance Bureau by SoftBank group for the fiscal year ended March. The second-tier subsidiary was established in 2014 and began consumer sales of Pepper in June 2015 and business sales that October.

Although the company does not release earnings, it recorded sales of 2.2 billion yen and a net loss of 11.7 billion yen in fiscal 2015, according to Tokyo Shoko Research. That is markedly worse than the 2.3 billion yen net loss from fiscal 2014. Pepper is unprofitable because of its relatively low price for a humanoid robot, costing just 198,000 yen, which cannot cover development costs.

"We will increase corporate sales and improve earnings through related businesses such as apps and content," a statement from SoftBank group's public relations office said.

(Nikkei)

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