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SoftBank

SoftBank announces dividend after asset sales

Japan tech conglomerate says it will respond to stable dividend expectations

SoftBank Group said it will pay an interim dividend of 22 yen per share unchanged from the previous year.   © Reuters

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group on Friday said it will pay an interim dividend of 22 yen ($0.2) per share, unchanged from the previous year, and 41.3 billion yen in total after completing a series of major asset sales.

The decision came "in light of the business environment and shareholders' expectations for stable dividends," SoftBank said in a news release. The Japanese technology group has previously not given guidance on dividends for the fiscal year ending in March 2021 due to uncertainty in financial markets.

In its annual shareholders meeting in June, Chairman Masayoshi Son told investors not to have too much hope for dividends, and that the company will instead focus on share buybacks using proceeds from a $41 billion asset monetization program.

SoftBank has since exceeded its monetization target, having sold stakes in U.S. carrier T-Mobile and the Japanese carrier SoftBank Corp., among others. Last month, it also announced plans to sell U.K. semiconductor designer Arm to U.S. chipmaker Nvidia.

At the same time, it has said the buyback program may be extended from its original deadline of March 2021 due to market uncertainty. As of the end of September, it has bought back 40 billion yen worth of shares, about 8% of a 500 billion yen buyback program announced in June. It has not bought shares for an additional 1 trillion yen buyback program announced in July.

SoftBank shares are trading at their highest level in 20 years.

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