Softbank Corp., a Tokyo-based Internet and computer software company with extensive media interests, has posted a group net loss of $441m (Y54.3 billion) for the first half of fiscal 2001, ending in September. This compares with a $295m (Y36.3 billion) profit for the same period the previous fiscal year.

Despite group sales gains of 2%, to $1.5bn (Y183.4 billion) in the first half, losses from overseas investments dragged Softbank profits down.

Group pre-tax loss for the first half amounted $131.7m (Y16.2 billion) for the period, compared with a group pre-tax profit of $8.5m (Y1.04 billion) the same period the previous fiscal year.

Softbank currently owns stakes in 800 companies, including Sky Perfect Communications, which manages a satellite broadcasting platform, and Nihon Eiga Satellite Broadcasting, which operates a Japanese film channel on cable and satellite. Softbank is also a major investor in Yahoo and other Internet companies - and its stock price has taken a hammering following the bursting of the bubble in the US and elsewhere.