iPhone powers Softbank profit surge

Japan's Softbank has beaten analyst expectations with a 124% rise in full-year earnings, driven by continued strong iPhone sales at Softbank Mobile.
 
It posted net profit of 96.72 billion yen (€776.8 million) and 3.4% higher sales of 2.76 trillion yen.
 
“There were no notable surprises, but we believe the results confirmed an improvement in fundamentals on all measures, including… a year on year doubling of free cash flow to 390.8 billion yen and a decline in interest-bearing debt to 1.5 trillion yen from a peak of around 2.4 trillion yen,” comments Credit Suisse.
 
Softbank Mobile’s fiscal 2010 ARPU stood at 4,070 yen, the same as the previous year, but undershooting some forecasts.
 
“There was some weakness in voice ARPU, but confirmation of a bottoming in the year-on-year trend was positive,” says Credit Suisse.
 
The bank says Softbank’s results stand in contrast “to those of its rivals, which are seeing a relentless decline in ARPU because of the sharp drop in voice, despite mild growth in data ARPU.”
 
In the March quarter, Softbank Mobile’s data ARPU surpassed its voice ARPU, helped by the fact that it holds exclusive rights to sell Apple’s iPhone in Japan.
 
The company left its fiscal 2011 guidance of 500 billion yen unchanged, slightly less than consensus estimates.
 
Softbank’s 400 billion yen capex projection for fiscal 2011 represents a 180 billion yen year on year increase.

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