Microlender Bharat Financial Inclusion today reported a net loss of Rs 234.92 crore for the quarter ended March 31, 2017, mainly due to write-offs of Rs 334.56 crore.
Bharat Financial, formerly SKS Microfinance, had made a net profit of Rs 84.47 crore during the corresponding January-March quarter of 2015-16.
At the board meeting held today, the company said it was authorised to "appoint consultants, advisers as well as bankers to map and evaluate strategic options including induction of strategic investors, strategic alliance, merger with or acquisition of a bank/financial institution."
The announcement holds significance against the backdrop of speculations of its merger or acquisition with/by mid-sized private lender IndusInd Bank.
IndusInd Bank earlier in March had hinted that it was in talks with various entities, including Bharat Financial, to expand the business.
"... In the changing landscape of microfinance sector in the country, the company continues to explore a range of strategic options," Bharat Financial said in a filing.
Bharat Financial's total income during the March quarter of 2016-17 was at Rs 409.31 crore, up from Rs 370.31 crore in the same period a year ago, according to a regulatory filing.
There were write-offs to the tune of Rs 334.56 crore during the quarter, sharply up from Rs 13.92 crore a year ago.
Expenses related to employee benefits and finance costs were also higher in the quarter compared to the same in the year-ago quarter.
The firm has been taking technology initiatives and in-house solutions, the last mile cashless transaction points to expand products and services, it said.
Bharat Financial said it has completed a successful pilot project to scale up coverage.