SoftBank Group Reports $5.9 Bil. 3rd-Quarter Loss on Tech Slump

This picture taken on February 6 shows a logo of Japan’s SoftBank at their mobile shop in Tokyo.

TOKYO (AFP-Jiji) — SoftBank Group on Tuesday reported a surprise $5.9 billion net loss in the third quarter, as a slump in the tech sector continued to hit the investment behemoth’s bottom line.

The loss compared with the net profit of ¥29 billion ($219 million) the firm reported in the same three-month period last year.

Its two Vision Fund investment vehicles alone lost ¥660 billion ($5 billion) in October-December, “reflecting declines in the share prices of a wide range of portfolio companies,” SoftBank said.

The firm has made huge bets to find and grow hot new tech ventures around the world, but that has left its earnings vulnerable to fickle market forces, and its Vision Funds have reported losses for four straight quarters.

Interest rate hikes by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other central banks to tackle inflation have weighed on global tech shares, putting pressure on SoftBank.

“In the past year or so, the environment has been very tough,” chief financial officer Yoshimitsu Goto told reporters.

“We cannot be optimistic yet,” Goto said.