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Japan-Update

SoftBank's rosy operating results mask heavy debt load

Tech group's interest payments exceeding $4bn weigh on net profit

SoftBank CEO Masayoshi Son speaks at a news conference in Tokyo on Nov. 6.

TOKYO -- SoftBank Group saw its net profit plunge sharply for the April-September half despite posting a record operating profit, exposing a heavy toll exacted by enormous interest payments and intricate derivatives arrangements.

Growth at U.S. telecom unit Sprint, until recently in talks to merge with rival T-Mobile US, helped push operating profit up 35% to 874 billion yen ($7.75 billion). But debt associated with that subsidiary, bought in 2013, also figured into the Japanese parent's over 15 trillion yen in interest-bearing liabilities as of the end of September. Interest payments sent net profit plunging 87% on the year to 102 billion yen.

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