SoftBank shifts to foreign banks as borrowing soars

FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp
FILE PHOTO: SoftBank Corp's logo is pictured at a news conference in Tokyo, Japan, February 4, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

By Sam Nussey and Takashi Umekawa

TOKYO (Reuters) -SoftBank Group Corp's bank borrowing climbed by 42% in the year to March-end with the increase shouldered by foreign lenders, company filings showed on Thursday.

Borrowing from the conglomerate's principal lenders rose to 4.98 trillion yen ($46 billion) in the last business year, with main bank Mizuho Financial Group Inc the only Japanese lender remaining in the top three backers.

Goldman Sachs Group Inc and JPMorgan Chase & Co are among SoftBank's biggest lenders, the filings showed, with the borrowing coming as the Japanese conglomerate builds its technology investing operations globally.

SoftBank has experienced rapidly changing fortunes over the last year, with its stock price and portfolio valuations plummeting in the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, forcing the group into asset sales.

Chief Executive Masayoshi Son pledged to use cash reserves as a defence but with earnings rebounding and a recently completed share buyback driving stock-price recovery, the firm has expanded backing for its second Vision Fund to $30 billion.

($1 = 109.0800 yen)

(Reporting by Sam Nussey, Takashi Umekawa and Makiko Yamazaki; Editing by Christopher Cushing)

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