India's only listed microlender SKS Microfinance reported Monday a fifth straight quarterly loss, hurt by higher bad debt provisions and loan write-offs.
SKS's net loss widened to 3.3 billion rupees ($61 million) for the three months ended March from a loss of 697.7 million rupees for the same period a year earlier.
Total income in the fourth financial quarter fell 69 percent to 528 million rupees, the Hyderabad-based firm said in a statement to the Bombay Stock Exchange.
Debt provisions and write-offs climbed to 2.78 billion rupees from 1.06 billion rupees, the company said, without elaborating.
The company has been under a cloud since 2010 after the state of Andhra Pradesh, the hub of the industry, accused microlenders of exploiting poor borrowers with exorbitant lending rates and abusive debt collection practices.
Microlenders give loans as low as $20 to small business people and farmers.
SKS, which has 5.9 million clients in 18 states, has seen its business in Andhra Pradesh erode sharply since the state government decided to crack down on the activities of microlenders to curb the alleged wrongdoings.
SKS said on Monday it has sharply reduced its lending activities in Andhra Pradesh and has shifted its focus to states such as West Bengal, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar and Orissa to boost revenues.
Last year, SKS's founder-chairman Vikram Akula, who set up the lender in 1997, quit amid reported differences about how to revive the company's fortunes.
The passage of new federal legislation is now awaited that will make India's central bank the sole regulator for the microfinance sector.
The move will override all state laws -- establishing a level playing field -- and tighten supervision of the industry.
Source: AFP Asian Edition