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El Grupo SoftBank, la empresa japonesa con mayor utilidad neta

El Grupo SoftBank (SBG) obtuvo un beneficio neto de 4,9 billones de yenes en sus resultados financieros consolidados (Estándares Internacionales de Contabilidad) correspondientes al ejercicio fiscal finalizado en marzo de 2021.

La empresa ha obtenido el mayor beneficio neto de la historia de una compañía japonesa, superando a Toyota Motor Corp.

Masayoshi Son, presidente de la empresa, fundó su predecesora, Japan Softbank, en 1981.

Cuarenta años después, los beneficios de SBG en el ejercicio fiscal que finalizó en marzo de 2021 se vieron impulsados por la cotización de las dos empresas en las que ha invertido: DoorDash, un servicio de entrega de comida a domicilio estadounidense, y Coupang, una importante empresa surcoreana de ventas por Internet.

El mayor beneficio neto de una empresa japonesa hasta la fecha era de 2,5 billones de yenes, obtenido por Toyota Motor Corp. en el ejercicio fiscal finalizado en marzo de 2018.

El beneficio neto de casi 5 billones de yenes es el tercero más grande del mundo, tras el número 1, Apple (más de 6 billones de yenes) y Saudi Aramco (más de 5 billones de yenes), la compañía petrolera estatal de Arabia Saudí, si se compara con los principales resultados del año fiscal 2020, y SBG ha saltado a las filas de las empresas internacionales.

Sin embargo, mientras que las empresas “GAFA” como Apple y Google amplían sus ganancias con servicios y tecnologías innovadores, SBG depende del crecimiento de las empresas de riesgo en las que invierte, lo que la hace susceptible a las fluctuaciones bursátiles.

El año anterior, la empresa registró las peores pérdidas de su historia en el ejercicio fiscal que finalizó en marzo de 2020.

En la conferencia de prensa en la que se anunciaron los resultados financieros, Son Masayoshi también comentó sobre el mayor beneficio: “Esta vez, las ‘coincidencias’ se solaparon. Y no es una situación de la que pueda estar orgulloso”, admitió.

También señaló que la empresa había sufrido pérdidas por la quiebra de Greensill Capital, una empresa británica de servicios financieros en la que había invertido, y dijo: “Aceptamos humildemente el fracaso de nuestras inversiones. Quiero crear un sistema que pueda generar beneficios continuos, no solo por tener una buena racha”.

SBG centrará sus futuras inversiones en el campo de la inteligencia artificial (IA) en previsión para después de la crisis del nuevo coronavirus. Sus fondos han comenzado a invertir en una amplia gama de negocios, incluyendo la toma de decisiones de préstamos basada en la IA, la edición de vídeo y el apoyo a la distribución.

Sin embargo, existe la posibilidad de que el mercado entre en una fase de corrección en el futuro si aumenta la preocupación por la inflación. Es probable que los beneficios no realizados de SBG salten por los aires, por lo que el discernimiento de la inversión y la gestión del riesgo serán aún más importantes.

Fotografía del encabezado: Son Masayoshi, presidente del Grupo SoftBank, explica los resultados financieros en una rueda de prensa online (Jiji Press).




SoftBank CEO says he wants to be a 21st century Rothschild

  • The billionaire said many people have asked him over the last three of four years what SoftBank Group is, with some saying him they like him “very much” as an entrepreneur but not as an investor.
  • Son said he would describe SoftBank as a “capital provider for the information revolution” in the 21st century in the same way that Mayer Amschel Rothschild was a capital provider for the industrial revolution in the 19th century.
  • In the industrial revolution, manpower was replaced by machines, Son said. “In the information revolution, AI will be the one replacing machinery,” he said.

Masayoshi Son, the chief executive of Japanese tech conglomerate SoftBank, said to shareholders on Wednesday that he wants to be viewed as a 21st century Rothschild.

The billionaire said many people have asked him over the last three of four years what SoftBank Group is, with some saying him they like him “very much” as an entrepreneur but not as an investor.

“Actually, I am not a simple or a traditional investor compared to the others,” Son said. “I’ve been a bit frustrated. How should I best try to explain to you what is SoftBank? What is Masayoshi Son?”

Son said he would describe SoftBank as a “capital provider for the information revolution” in the 21st century in the same way that Mayer Amschel Rothschild was a capital provider for the industrial revolution in the 19th century.

“In the industrial revolution, one of the main players was Rothschild,” Son said, using one of the quirky slideshows that SoftBank has become well known for to illustrate his points. “We would like to be the capital provider for the information revolution. That is our new definition or new positioning I would say to describe SoftBank Group.” 

Son said there were “many famous inventors (who) did a great job,” during the industrial revolution, calling out steam engine pioneer James Watt.

“But that industrial revolution did not happen only by inventors,” he said, adding that capitalists were equally as important. “Mr. Watt is quite famous, but Rothschild as the capitalist may not be fully understood, may not be fully valued,” Son said.

Information revolution in full bloom

Today, the “information revolution (is) in full bloom,” according to Son, who said artificial intelligence is a particular area of focus for SoftBank.

“We believe that the we are the biggest in terms of providing capital,” he said on AI, adding that driving, healthcare, retail, finance and education will all be redefined by AI in the years ahead.

In the industrial revolution, manpower was replaced by machines, Son said. “In the information revolution, AI will be the one replacing machinery,” he said.

SoftBank has invested in 264 companies through its two Vision Funds, as well as a dedicated Latin America fund.

“The majority of the companies are not actually making money,” Son said. “We are taking risks and at the same time providing funds … as a capital provider.”

Net asset value is a key metric that SoftBank focuses on when measuring its own performance, Son said. At the end of March, SoftBank’s NAV was about 26 trillion Japanese yen ($235 billion), Son said, adding that it fluctuates on a daily basis and sits at around 25 trillion yen today.

There have been four main drivers for SoftBank’s business over the years, Son said. Initially it was Yahoo, then it was SoftBank Mobile and eventually it became Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba. But recently the Vision Fund is “taking a good lead in net asset value,” Son said, adding that he’s “spent a lot of time” on it himself.

Son claimed SoftBank has recorded a 43% internal rate of return every year in the last 25 years and pointed out that the banks provide less than 1% and asset management companies are 8 to 10%.

“Up until last year, the Vision Fund was criticized or given a hard time,” Son said. “People said that Masa is not as young anymore so Masa is not as good as before and Masa becomes too greedy or you don’t have a lot money or a lot of hair anymore … but finally we started to see some recovery.”

That said, Son admitted there are a “lot of lessons” SoftBank has learned after big bets on loan issuer Greensill, office space provider WeWork and dog walking app Wag turned sour. “I felt embarrassed sometimes by those hard lessons,” he said.




SoftBank Leads Funding to Vault Kitopi Past $1 Billion Value

Dubai-based cloud kitchen startup Kitopi has raised $415 million from a group of investors including SoftBank Group Corp.’s Vision Fund 2, vaulting it to unicorn status.

Kitopi “has crossed the billion dollar valuation mark now,” Chief Executive Officer Mohamad Ballout said in an interview, declining to give more specifics. “We now have enough capital to really fuel the growth of our business in the Middle East and to expand globally.”

 

 

The deal marks one of the largest funding rounds for a Middle East technology company. Other investors that joined SoftBank include Chimera, Turkey’s Dogus Group, California-based Next Play Capital and B Riley, Ballout said.

The funding package will be used to accelerate the firm’s expansion in Saudi Arabia and also to start operations in new countries, he said. Kitopi will make Saudi Arabia its Middle East headquarters while Dubai will remain a global head office as it looks to expand into Southeast Asia, Ballout said.

Cloud kitchens, which handle food preparation of delivery orders for multiple restaurant brands, have become a new hotspot for technology investors as the pandemic has hit restaurant dining. Indian cloud kitchen firm Rebel Foods Pvt Ltd., which is backed by Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and Sequoia Capital, is currently looking to raise new funding that could give it a valuation of close to $2 billion, people familiar told Bloomberg in May.

“The industry we’re in is massive, and the dynamics of it is changing a lot as it goes from offline to online, and we’re well positioned to capture that change,” Ballout said. “We’re going to be putting around $200 million of capital in Saudi Arabia to build out our business there.”

Kitopi expects that Saudi Arabia will account for the majority of the company’s business business within 12 months, he said.

The valuation implied in its latest funding round is a significant increase from the last time Kitopi tapped investors. It raised $60 million in February last year, just before the spread of the coronavirus led to widespread shutdowns of restaurants around the world as countries locked down to contain the contagion.

The deal is SoftBank’s first in a business headquartered in the United Arab Emirates, Faisal Rehman, managing partner for SoftBank Investment Advisers, said in a statement.

The firm received large commitments from the Middle East in its $100 billion first Vision Fund, with sovereign wealth funds Mubadala Investment Co. and Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund among the biggest investors.

Kitopi, which Ballout says is already profitable at a country level, is still growing even as dining-in at restaurants resumes in many countries where it operates. “In Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in particular, we already see that eating out behavior is back to where it was pre-Covid, and we’re still growing super-fast,” Ballout said.

Prior to the latest financing, Kitopi had raised $120 million since it was founded in 2018, attracting investors including U.S.-based Lumia Capital, Rise Capital and Knollwood. Other investors in the latest funding round also included Nordstar and DisruptAD.