Japan

OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp, said it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy to pursue a sale of its business and has cut its workforce amid the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. OneWeb is in negotiations for debtor-in-possession financing, which if acquired and approved by the court will support its ongoing business, the company said in a statement that did not mention how many jobs were being cut.

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SoftBank Group Corp. lashed out at Moody’s Corp. after its debt was downgraded by two notches, accusing the ratings company of “bias” and “creating substantial misunderstanding” days after the investment group announced a $41 billion asset sale program intended to shore up confidence, Bloomberg News reported. SoftBank’s shares slid as much as 8.4% early in Tokyo trade. The Moody’s downgrade -- lowering SoftBank’s corporate family rating and senior unsecured rating to Ba3 from Ba1 -- pushed the company deeper into junk territory.

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Was that it? Markets’ reaction to the Bank of Japan’s unscheduled monetary policy moves last week in response to the coronavirus outbreak was a swift and highly negative dismissal of the actions taken as inadequate to the challenge posed, the Financial Times reported in a commentary.

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In a related story, Bloomberg News reported that OneWeb, the satellite operator backed by SoftBank Group Corp., is mulling a possible bankruptcy filing to address a cash crunch as it grapples with high costs and stiff competition, according to people with knowledge of the preparations. The company is considering seeking court protection even as it continues to review possible out-of-court alternatives, said the people, who asked not to be named discussing private company plans. OneWeb would be among the first SoftBank-backed companies to file for bankruptcy.

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SoftBank Group Corp. shares plummeted the most on record, adding to steep declines earlier this month as investors grow concerned about the Japanese company’s debt load and investments with markets in tumult, Bloomberg News reported. The stock dropped 17% Thursday, the worst decline since founder Masayoshi Son first listed his company in 1994. SoftBank has tumbled about 50% in just the past month, erasing as much as $50 billion in market value. The Japanese billionaire is struggling to reassure investors about the stability of his empire amid fallout from the coronavirus.

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SoftBank Group Corp. fell by its most in more than seven years, after worsening sentiment around the coronavirus outbreak and the value of its global portfolio stung Masayoshi Son’s investment group, Bloomberg News reported. The shares fell 10% Monday, marking their biggest decline since October 2012 and wiping out gains since Paul Singer’s Elliott Management Corp. revealed a substantial stake in SoftBank.

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Japan's economy may have suffered a deeper contraction than initially thought in the December quarter on an expected downgrade to business spending figures, as the coronavirus outbreak fuelled fears of recession in the current quarter, the International New York Times reported on a Reuters story. Any downward revision in final gross domestic product (GDP) due on Monday could dash hopes for a domestic-led recovery in the export-reliant economy, with the October's sales tax hike hurting private consumption.

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A Japanese cruise operator filed for bankruptcy on Monday after its restaurant ship Luminous Kobe 2, which offered buffets and night views of the western port city of Kobe, was hit by cancellations amid concerns about the coronavirus outbreak, Reuters reported. Luminous Cruise said it had already been struggling with rising fuel costs and setbacks from recent typhoons before the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess, an unrelated cruise ship now docked at Yokohama. “Since February 1, we have had many cancellations which appear connected to the coronavirus.

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Japan’s government stuck to its view the economy is recovering despite the sharpest contraction in more than five years last quarter and forecasts from private sector analysts that the coronavirus epidemic will trigger a recession, Bloomberg News reported. In it’s monthly report for February, released Thursday, the Cabinet Office maintained its stance the economy is “recovering at a moderate pace” amid continued weakness in manufacturing and exports.

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