Japanese investors keen on country’s infra growth story: FM
Seeking to woo investors from Asia’s second biggest economy, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Sunday began his six-day Japan visit as he met Masayoshi Son, the CEO of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank Group, which is eyeing “one of the biggest” investments in solar power sector in India.
“There are people who want to participate in infrastructure growth story. For example, SoftBank meeting we just had, they are looking at one of the biggest investments in solar power already,” he said after meeting Son.
In June last year, SoftBank announced it was forming a joint venture with Bharti Enterprises and Taiwan’s Foxconn Technology Group to invest about $20 billion in renewable energy in India. The joint venture would aim to generate 20 gigawatts of electricity. “They have made considerable headway and have identified location. It will probably be one of the largest investment in those areas,” Jaitley said. The Japanese telecom and Internet giant has made a string of tech investments in India, investing $2 billion in the past two years. SoftBank is looking at accelerating the pace of investments in the future. “India has a great future...we are interested in investing for Internet companies also for solar energy. We would make a strong commitment,” Son said.
Son had previously said that India’s market is poised for massive growth, making it an important destination for investors. SoftBank has in the past two years made a string of tech investments in India, including $627 million in online- retailing marketplace Snapdeal and leading a $210 million funding round in taxi-hailing app Ola Cabs. It paid $200 million for a 35 per cent stake in InMobi, an Indian mobile-advertising network, starting in 2011. SoftBank also has a joint venture with Bharti Group, Bharti SoftBank, the investments of which include the mobile application Hike Messenger.
Its other investments include real-estate website Housing.com, hotel-booking app Oyo Rooms and Grofers.
Son had previously predicted that India’s e-commerce industry would become a $500 billion business in the next 10 years. SoftBank, which owns one of Japan’s biggest mobile carriers and a controlling stake in US-based Sprint Corp, has been moving quickly to expand its Internet and media holdings.
As the largest shareholder in Alibaba Group Holding Ltd, the Chinese e-commerce company, SoftBank has ample resources to deploy for acquisitions. During the visit, Jaitley will also call on Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Meeting with Abe is planned for tomorrow when he will also attend the 22nd International Conference on ‘The Future of Asia’ organised by Nikkei Inc. Jaitley, on May 31, will meet Osamu Suzuki, Chairman of Suzuki Motor, the biggest Japanese investor in automobile sector in India.
SoftBank’s Nikesh Arora receives $73 million pay package
Nikesh Arora, the India-born president and COO of Japanese telecom giant SoftBank, received a pay package of about $73 million (Rs 500 crore) in the fiscal year ended March 31, making him one of the top paid executives worldwide for the second year in a row. Arora, seen as heir apparent to SoftBank’s billionaire founder Masayoshi Son, received a salary package of $73 million, including a compensation of $14.2 million from other SoftBank units, media reports said, citing a proxy statement issued by SoftBank. The pay package of Arora, already Japan’s highest paid executive, is in the same range as of Apple’s Tim Cook and Walt Disney’s Bob Iger.
In the previous fiscal, he had got a $135 million pay package including a joining bonus. Arora had joined SoftBank as its vice-chairman and CEO of SB Group US (previously SoftBank Internet and Media Inc) in September 2014 from the search giant Google. In May last year, he was elevated to president and COO, the first time in 35-year history of SoftBank that anyone was given the ‘president’ title.