Japan-based SoftBank reported a net profit of JPY1.04 trillion ($9.5 billion) for its fiscal year ending 31 March, aided by US unit Sprint recording its first annual net income in a decade and a gain related to its Vision Fund.

The operator’s net income for fiscal 2017 was down 27.2 per cent year-on-year due to one-offs including a derivative loss related to a forward contract on Alibaba shares and a JPY555 billion gain in fiscal 2016 from discontinuing operations.

Income in the recent year was boosted by a JPY685 billion profit recorded by Sprint and a JPY346 billion gain on the valuation of shares in its Vision Fund.

Total revenue in fiscal 2017 increased 2.9 per cent to JPY9.16 trillion, with the operator generating gains from its Japan telecoms business, Yahoo Japan and Arm, but registering a decline in net sales at Sprint.

Its domestic telecoms operations reported a 1.1 per cent year-on-year increase in revenue to JPY3.23 trillion, but total service revenue fell 0.7 per cent to JPY2.4 trillion and mobile revenue dropped 4 per cent to JPY1.8 trillion. SoftBank said the mobile decline was mainly due to the impact of discounts offered through various promotions including bundled and high-volume flat-rate data plans.

Product sales rose 6.8 per cent during fiscal 2017 to JPY823 billion.

SoftBank said it expects to increase telecom service revenue in fiscal year 2018 by leveraging its growing customer base. It added 775,000 mobile subscribers from a year ago to end fiscal Q4 with 33.2 million subs.

ARPU dipped JPY150 from fiscal Q4 2016 to JPY4,350 in the recent quarter.

US operations
Revenue at Sprint fell 0.6 per cent year-on-year to JPY3.6 trillion and was down 2.8 per cent in US dollar terms ($32.4 billion).

SoftBank said it continues to aim to expand net sales by increasing the number of post paid and prepaid subscribers, and stabilising ARPU. It added nearly 1 million new subcribers in fiscal 2017 to end March with 54.6 million, but overall ARPU fell by $3.66 to $50.44 year-on-year due to the increased use of low-rate plans.

In late April Sprint and T-Mobile US announced plans to merge in an all-stock transaction worth $26 billion.

Net sales from its Arm unit increased 79.2 per cent year-on-year to JPY202 billion. The increase was inflated due to comparing full-year results for fiscal 2017 to just seven months in fiscal 2016 (SoftBank acquired Arm in September 2016). In fiscal Q4 revenue increased 13 per cent year-on-year to $461 million. Technology licensing revenue in the quarter was up 28 per cent to $156 million.

Its Vision Fund contributed JPY303 billion to income during fiscal 2017. SoftBank said in addition to the $29.7 billion invested by SoftBank Vision Fund and Delta Fund, the company invested $12.9 billion in taxi app companies Uber and China-based Didi.