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SoftBank seen beating profit forecast in fiscal 2014

TOKYO -- SoftBank likely generated a roughly 950 billion yen ($7.86 billion) operating profit in the year ended March 31, topping the 900 billion yen it targeted in November, thanks to the brisk performance of its domestic mobile phone business and boosts from group units.

     The figure falls short of the record 1.07 trillion yen marked in fiscal 2013, when SoftBank booked 253.9 billion yen in one-time gains from such steps as turning GungHo Online Entertainment into a subsidiary. But when such temporary factors are excluded, profit effectively rose.

     Sales apparently climbed nearly 30% on the year to about 8.5 trillion yen. Two American companies acquired in 2013 added revenue: mobile carrier Sprint and handset wholesaler Brightstar. So did subsidiary Yahoo Japan, whose advertising income rose.

     Mainstay mobile communications unit SoftBank Mobile picked up more smartphone subscribers and enjoyed higher profitability. Finnish game developer Supercell boosted SoftBank's profit as well.

     SoftBank downgraded its operating profit target from 1 trillion yen in November on Sprint's sluggish performance. While the U.S. mobile carrier is still taking steps to rebuild, its earnings improved on the year thanks to personnel cuts and other streamlining efforts.

     Net profit likely came to 600 billion yen, marking a fifth straight year of record profit. SoftBank does not release official net profit forecasts. Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group Holding's autumn 2014 listing added a stock valuation profit for SoftBank, which has a roughly 30% stake.

     The Japanese company is seen continuing with active investment to expand its customer base.

(Nikkei)

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