SoftBank Group restarts dividend as finances stabilise

FILE PHOTO: The logo of SoftBank Group Corp is displayed at SoftBank World 2017 conference in Tokyo, Japan, July 20, 2017. REUTERS/Issei Kato/File Photo

TOKYO (Reuters) - SoftBank Group Corp said on Friday it would pay an interim dividend of 22 yen per share, the same as the previous fiscal year, after a series of massive asset sales stabilised the group’s finances.

The dividend declaration is the latest sign the group, which was shaken by soured investments and the COVID-19 pandemic, is regaining its confidence, buoyed by deals including the $40 billion sale of chip designer Arm to Nvidia Corp.

Its year-end dividend forecast is yet to be determined. SoftBank did not offer a dividend forecast in May when it reported a record annual operating loss.

SoftBank also said it had completed the sale of U.S. cellphone distributor Brightstar as it cuts ties to the telecoms industry to focus on investing.

Asset sales have stoked speculation about how SoftBank might deploy its mounting cash pile, with CEO Masayoshi Son telling a Saudi Arabian conference on Thursday that he is a “risk taker.”

SoftBank’s shares were flat in line with the benchmark index. Its shares are trading near two decade highs.

Reporting by Sam Nussey; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman and Edwina Gibbs