Masayoshi Son’s empire wobbles as virus hits debt load
Japan Times -- Mar 23
Investors are growing increasingly skittish about the stability of Masayoshi Son’s empire.

Son’s SoftBank Group Corp., one of Japan’s most indebted companies, had been chipping away in recent years at concerns about its ability to carry that burden. As the founder remade the telecom company into a tech investor, analysts reassessed the debt in terms of the value of SoftBank’s shareholdings, a gauge that had made its balance sheet appear more manageable.

But the coronavirus pandemic is threatening to undo that progress as it pulls down equity markets and triggers the worst sell-off in credit markets since the 2008 financial crisis. It’s sparked a dramatic surge in the price of insuring against defaults around the world, including SoftBank’s. The company’s credit-default swaps have spiked to the highest in a decade.

“SoftBank has refinancing needs and constantly faces new fundraising needs, so it would be difficult to access funds if the current credit market turmoil continues,” said Hiroyuki Nishikawa, an analyst at S&P Global Ratings. The base scenario still remains that SoftBank has cash reserves to repay debt for the next two years, he added.

There has been no change in SoftBank’s financial policy of focusing on loan-to-value and having enough liquidity on hand to cover two years worth of bond repayments, the company said in an emailed statement. SoftBank said it is curbing new investments to match the current environment and acknowledged that fundraising costs are likely to rise going forward.

S&P cut its outlook on the group to negative late Tuesday, citing the broad market declines and the conglomerate’s plans for a share buyback.

Its market value of ¥6.78 trillion ($63.5 billion) is now less than that of SoftBank Corp., the domestic telecom operation that sold shares to the public last year. SoftBank Group still owns about two-thirds of the unit.

News source: Japan Times
May 30
Despite Nissan Motor Co.’s latest efforts to become more cost-efficient and profitable by strengthening its collaboration with Renault SA, its business downturn may be causing a costly delay in the global race toward new mobility technologies, analysts say. (Japan Times)
May 30
Looking for an easy business idea to start fast? (newsonjapan.com)
May 29
Japan's textile imports surged in April, fuelled by growing demand for face masks. (NHK)
May 29
Nissan Motor has posted its first net loss in 11 years in the business year through March, amounting to more than 670 billion yen, or 6.2 billion dollars. (NHK)
May 29
NTT Docomo, Japan's largest mobile carrier, said Thursday it has secured exclusive rights to offer Disney's streaming service Disney+ in the country starting June 11. (Nikkei)
May 28
Japan's Diet has enacted legislation to tighten regulations on IT giants by requiring them to ensure transparency of their online business transactions with their business partners. (NHK)
May 28
The announcement by Las Vegas Sands Corp. to withdraw from building an integrated casino resort at the start of May came as a major setback in the country's efforts to popularise casinos. (newsonjapan.com)
May 27
Japan is slowly bringing its economy back on line as a state of emergency was fully lifted after almost two months. While many in Tokyo seemed eager to reclaim a sense of normalcy, steps to keep the coronavirus at bay mean it's far from business as usual. (NHK)
May 27
The lifting of the state of emergency in Tokyo saw many people resuming their daily commutes by train on Tuesday. With stations bustling, the city seemed almost normal. (Nikkei)
May 27
Japan remained the world’s largest creditor at the end of 2019, with the net balance of external assets held by its government, companies and individual investors hitting a record ¥364.53 trillion ($3.40 trillion), the Finance Ministry said Tuesday. (Japan Times)