CONTROVERSY over SoftBank’s ties to Saudi Arabia failed to stop the Japanese tech investor posting a huge jump in profits for its third quarter today.
Its profit from October to December came in at 438.3 billion yen (£3.1 billion), versus 274 billion yen a year earlier.
Earnings leapt by more than 50% to 1.5 trillion yen, driven by gains from its investment funds, including the Softbank Vision fund which partners Saudi Arabia.
Saudi Arabia is the biggest investor in the $93 billion (£71 billion) superfund, having pumped in $45 billion. As a result SoftBank has refused to condemn the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi by Saudi security forces last October, with chief executive Masayoshi Son sticking by Riyadh.
SoftBank makes most of its money from investments in high-tech companies like China’s Alibaba. Today it said it had sold its entire stake in Californian chipmaker Nvidia, which in December was valued at 398 billion yen.
It was a turbulent three months in which it had a network outage and faced increased scrutiny over ties to Huawei Technologies, the Chinese telecoms firm whose equipment Western powers fear could be used for espionage.