TIDMASAI

RNS Number : 5096F

ASA International Group PLC

22 March 2022

Press release

ASA International Group plc February 2022 business update

Amsterdam, The Netherlands, 22 March 2022 - ASA International, ('ASA International', the 'Company' or the 'Group'), one of the world's largest international microfinance institutions, today provides the following update of the impact of Covid-19 on its business operations as at 28 February 2022.

-- Liquidity remains high with approximately USD 103m of unrestricted cash and cash equivalents across the Group.

   --    The pipeline of funding deals under negotiation totalled approximately USD 211m. 

-- With the exception of India and Myanmar, all other operating subsidiaries continued to achieve collection efficiency of more than 90% and 9 countries achieved more than 95%.

-- India collections remained at 76%, due to the substantial overdue collections and moratoriums provided to clients. Collection efficiency, excluding instalments due from clients receiving the one-time loan restructuring offered by the Reserve Bank of India ('RBI'), increased to 102%.

-- Collections in Myanmar decreased to 72%, due to the ongoing conflict and an internet and electricity outage in the conflict affected areas.

-- T he benchmark PAR>30 for the Group, including off-book loans and excluding loans overdue more than 365 days, slightly increased from 6.4% to 6.8%, primarily due to the end of the moratoriums in Myanmar, and PAR>90 decreased from 4.0% to 3.5%.

-- The PAR>30 for the Group's operating subsidiaries, excluding India and Myanmar, slightly increased from 1.8% to 1.9%.

-- Excluding all loans which have been overdue for more than 180 days and, as a result, have been fully provided for, PAR>30 increased from 3.8% to 4.6%.

-- Disbursements as percentage of collections exceeded 100% in 6 countries. The decreasing percentage in India was primarily due to the strategic decision to reduce disbursements.

-- With the number of clients broadly stable at 2.4m (slightly higher than in January and 2.9% lower than in February 2021), and the continuing strategic focus in India on only collections , Gross OLP decreased to USD 424m (0.2% lower than in January 2022 and 7% lower than in February 2021).

-- The moratorium amount decreased to USD 23.8 m, and is composed of the restructured loans of certain distressed clients in India as per the RBI guidelines. No other operating subsidiary granted moratoriums.

Health impact of COVID-19 on staff and clients

-- Since March 2020, the number of staff members confirmed as infected by Covid increased to 549 of over 12,800 staff , with two deaths . Confirmed infections amongst 2.4m clients increased to 22,791 from 21,659 in the previous month, resulting in 697 deaths since the start of the pandemic. Of the 697 client deaths across the Group, 451 took place in Myanmar, with no deaths occurring in February 2022.

Funding

   --    Unrestricted cash and cash equivalents remained high at approximately USD 103m. 

-- The Company secured approximately USD 6m of new loans from local and international lenders in February 2022.

-- The majority of the Company's USD 211m pipeline of future wholesale loans are supported by (agreed) term sheets and/or draft loan documentation. The terms and conditions of the remaining loans are being negotiated with lenders.

Collection efficiency until 28 February 2022 (1)

 
 Countries                 Sep/21      Oct/21      Nov/21      Dec/21     Jan/22     Feb/22 
                         ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------  --------- 
 India                       64%         70%         69%        74%        76%        76% 
 Pakistan                    99%         99%         99%        99%        99%        100% 
 Sri Lanka                 Nil(2)        91%         92%        94%        93%        93% 
 The Philippines             96%         97%         97%        97%        98%        98% 
 Myanmar                   55%(3)      68%(3)      75%(3)      78%(3)     78%(3)     72%(3) 
 Ghana                       99%        100%         99%        99%        99%        99% 
 Nigeria                     95%         96%         97%        96%        95%        96% 
 Sierra Leone                91%         93%         92%        92%        92%        92% 
 Kenya                      100%        100%        100%        100%       99%        100% 
 Uganda                      89%         94%         98%        100%       100%       100% 
 Tanzania                   100%        100%        100%        100%       100%       100% 
 Rwanda                      96%         97%         97%        97%        97%        97% 
 Zambia                     100%         99%         99%        99%        100%       100% 
-----------------------  ----------  ----------  ----------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 (1) Collection efficiency refers to actual collections from clients 
  divided by realizable collections for the period. It is calculated 
  as follows: the sum of actual regular collections, actual overdue collections 
  and actual advance payments divided by the sum of realizable regular 
  collections, actual overdue collections and actual advance payments. 
  Under this definition collection efficiency cannot exceed 100%. 
  (2) The collection efficiency for 1-29 September 2021 is nil due to 
  the lockdowns in Sri Lanka. 
  (3) Collections are impacted by the ongoing lockdowns and civil unrest 
  in some areas of our operations. 
 

-- Collection efficiency across the Group increased or remained broadly stable compared to the previous month in all countries .

-- Collections in India remained at 76%, due to the substantial overdue collections and moratoriums provided to clients. Collection efficiency, excluding instalments due from clients receiving the one-time loan restructuring, increased to 102%.

-- Collection efficiency in India, including regular and overdue collections as well as advance payments, increased to 101% as a percentage of the regular, realizable collections, including advance payments. The substantial difference is due to the Group's policy that any loan instalment paid is first credited against the oldest outstanding amount overdue. This has an adverse impact on India's monthly collection efficiency, which is further aggravated by the relatively long duration of the loans disbursed in India. This adjusted collection efficiency metric illustrates that most clients in India continue to make payments on their loans due.

-- Collections in Myanmar decreased to 72%, due to the ongoing conflict and an internet and electricity outage in the conflict affected areas.

Loan portfolio quality up to and including February 2022 (5, 6, 7)

 
                         Gross OLP (in USDm)               Non-overdue loans         PAR>30 less PAR>180 
               -------------------------------------  -------------------------  ------------------------- 
                    Dec/21       Jan/22       Feb/22   Dec/21   Jan/22   Feb/22   Dec/21   Jan/22   Feb/22 
 India 
  (total)            113          111          107      67.3%    68.8%    69.7%    12.3%    11.1%    10.2% 
 Pakistan              79           81           83     99.7%    99.7%    99.7%     0.2%     0.2%     0.2% 
 Sri Lanka               8            8            8    87.2%    85.3%    85.9%     3.6%     3.9%     4.1% 
 Philippines           47           46           47     95.7%    94.9%    95.7%     2.3%     2.0%     1.9% 
 Myanmar               20           21           21     97.8%    64.3%    58.5%     0.6%     1.0%    22.7% 
 Ghana                 49           46           44     99.3%    99.2%    99.3%     0.2%     0.3%     0.2% 
 Nigeria               40           37           37     92.7%    90.9%    90.6%     2.8%     3.4%     3.6% 
 Sierra 
  Leone                  7            7            7    87.4%    72.3%    71.1%     5.6%     6.5%     7.1% 
 Kenya                 17           17           18     98.6%    98.6%    98.6%     0.5%     0.5%     0.6% 
 Uganda                10           10           10     89.8%    90.7%    91.7%     3.1%     1.9%     0.9% 
 Tanzania              35           36           37     99.1%    99.1%    99.1%     0.2%     0.2%     0.1% 
 Rwanda                  3            3            3    92.9%    92.6%    92.4%     2.6%     3.0%     3.2% 
 Zambia                  2            2            2    98.2%    98.2%    97.7%     0.5%     0.5%     0.8% 
 Group               429          425          424      89.1%    87.5%    87.7%     4.1%     3.8%     4.6% 
                               PAR>30                           PAR>90                     PAR>180 
               -------------------------------------  -------------------------  ------------------------- 
                    Dec/21       Jan/22       Feb/22   Dec/21   Jan/22   Feb/22   Dec/21   Jan/22   Feb/22 
 India 
  (total)            22.8%        19.3%        17.1%    14.1%    11.6%     9.9%    10.5%     8.2%     6.9% 
 Pakistan             0.2%         0.2%         0.2%     0.2%     0.2%     0.1%     0.0%     0.0%     0.0% 
 Sri Lanka            6.0%         6.6%         6.9%     4.0%     4.0%     4.3%     2.5%     2.8%     2.8% 
 Philippines          2.5%         2.5%         2.7%     1.5%     1.9%     2.0%     0.3%     0.6%     0.8% 
 Myanmar              1.1%         1.6%        23.3%     0.7%     1.0%     0.9%     0.5%     0.6%     0.5% 
 Ghana                0.3%         0.3%         0.3%     0.2%     0.2%     0.2%     0.1%     0.1%     0.1% 
 Nigeria              4.6%         5.4%         5.8%     3.1%     3.6%     3.8%     1.8%     2.0%     2.2% 
 Sierra 
  Leone               7.5%         8.7%         9.5%     4.0%     5.5%     6.2%     1.9%     2.2%     2.4% 
 Kenya                1.1%         1.0%         1.1%     0.8%     0.8%     0.8%     0.5%     0.5%     0.5% 
 Uganda               3.8%         2.9%         2.4%     3.4%     2.8%     2.3%     0.7%     0.9%     1.4% 
 Tanzania             0.5%         0.4%         0.4%     0.4%     0.4%     0.3%     0.3%     0.3%     0.3% 
 Rwanda               4.5%         4.8%         5.1%     3.2%     3.2%     3.3%     1.9%     1.8%     1.9% 
 Zambia               0.7%         0.8%         1.1%     0.5%     0.5%     0.5%     0.2%     0.2%     0.3% 
 Group                7.3%         6.4%         6.8%     4.6%     4.0%     3.5%     3.1%     2.6%     2.2% 
 
   (5) Gross OLP includes the off-book BC and DA model, excluding interest 
   receivable and before deducting ECL provisions and modification loss. 
   (6) PAR>x is the percentage of outstanding customer loans with at 
   least one instalment payment overdue x days, excluding loans more 
   than 365 days overdue, to Gross OLP including off-book loans. Loans 
   overdue more than 365 days now comprise 3% of the Gross OLP. 
   (7) The table "PAR>30 less PAR>180" shows the percentage of outstanding 
   client loans with a PAR greater than 30 days, less those loans which 
   have been fully provided for. 
 
 

-- PAR>30 for the Group slightly increased to 6.8%, primarily due to the portfolio deterioration in Myanmar as moratoriums were no longer provided to clients with overdue loan payments.

   --    PAR>30 for Sierra Leone increased to 9.5% due to the increased OLP/client. 

-- Credit exposure of the India off-book BC portfolio of USD 33.7m is capped at 5%. The included off-book DA portfolio of USD 1.7m has no credit exposure.

Disbursements vs collections of loans until 28 February 2022 (8)

 
 Countries                Sep/21     Oct/21     Nov/21     Dec/21     Jan/22    Feb/22 
                        ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  --------- 
 India                     52%        39%        85%        88%        78%        65% 
 Pakistan                  100%       100%       98%        100%       100%       96% 
 Sri Lanka                Nil(9)      86%        100%       113%       70%       115% 
 The Philippines           89%        90%        90%        81%        80%        93% 
 Myanmar                   37%        73%        90%        95%        99%        99% 
 Ghana                     120%       111%       114%       108%       74%       110% 
 Nigeria                   110%       128%       134%       93%        71%        98% 
 Sierra Leone              124%       112%       112%       110%       97%       102% 
 Kenya                     100%       96%        103%       55%        95%       101% 
 Uganda                    109%       115%       121%       69%        81%       112% 
 Tanzania                  100%       107%       109%       107%       114%      112% 
 Rwanda                    102%       101%       105%       98%        65%        80% 
 Zambia                    102%       110%       111%       109%       76%        80% 
----------------------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  ---------  -------- 
 (8) Disbursements vs collections refers to actual loan disbursements 
  made to clients divided by total amounts collected from clients in the 
  period. 
  (9) Disbursements vs collections for September is nil due the nationwide 
  lockdowns. 
 

-- Disbursements as percentage of collections exceeded 100% in 6 countries. The decreasing percentage in India was primarily due to the strategic decision to reduce disbursements.

Development of Clients and Outstanding Loan Portfolio until 28 February 2022

 
                                                                                  Gross OLP (in 
                  Clients (in thousands)                Delta                         USDm)                                Delta 
                                                                                                                       Feb/21-Feb/22 
                                                                                                       Feb/21-Feb/22              CC   Jan/22-Feb/22 
 Countries      Feb/21   Jan/22    Feb/22   Feb/21-Feb/22   Jan/22-Feb/22   Feb/21   Jan/22   Feb/22             USD            (10)             USD 
 India             729      521       498            -32%             -4%      166      111      107            -35%            -34%             -3% 
 Pakistan          432      520       530             23%              2%       69       81       83             20%             34%              2% 
 Sri Lanka          56       52        52             -7%              0%        9        8        8            -10%             -7%              2% 
 The 
  Philippines      313      290       295             -6%              2%       50       46       47             -7%             -2%              2% 
 Myanmar           128      112       111            -13%             -1%       30       21       21            -30%            -11%              1% 
 Ghana             154      158       161              4%              2%       44       46       44             -1%             16%             -5% 
 Nigeria           256      246       245             -4%              0%       32       37       37             16%             27%             -1% 
 Sierra Leone       38       43        43             12%             -2%        5        7        7             38%             59%              0% 
 Kenya              99      118       120             22%              2%       14       17       18             27%             32%              4% 
 Uganda             81       92        93             15%              2%        8       10       10             29%             25%              2% 
 Tanzania          129      179       185             44%              4%       22       36       37             64%             64%              3% 
 Rwanda             18       18        18             -1%             -1%        3        3        3             18%             22%             -1% 
 Zambia              6       15        16            145%              3%      0.6        2        2            280%            210%              2% 
 Total           2,439    2,364     2,368           -2.9%            0.1%      453      425      424             -7%              1%           -0.2% 
 

(10) Constant currency ('CC') implies conversion of local currency results to USD with the exchange rate from the beginning of the period.

-- With the number of clients broadly stable at 2.4m, and the continuing strategic focus in India on only collections , Gross OLP decreased to USD 424m (0.2% lower than in January 2022 and 7% lower than in February 2021).

Selected moratoriums (11) on loan repayments until 28 February 2022

 
                       Clients under moratorium (in 
                                thousands) 
                                                        As % of Total 
 Countries             Dec/21      Jan/22      Feb/22         Clients 
 India                    205         205         205             41% 
 Pakistan                   0           0           0              0% 
 Sri Lanka                  0           0           0              0% 
 The Philippines            0           0           0              0% 
 Myanmar                   44           0           0              0% 
 Ghana                      0           0           0              0% 
 Nigeria                    0           0           0              0% 
 Sierra Leone               0           0           0              0% 
 Kenya                      0           0           0              0% 
 Uganda                     0           0           0              0% 
 Tanzania                   0           0           0              0% 
 Rwanda                     0           0           0              0% 
 Zambia                     0           0           0              0% 
 Total                    249         205         205              9% 
 
 
                       Moratorium amounts (USD 
                              thousands) 
                                                        February 
                                                     Moratoriums    As % of Total 
 Countries            Dec/21    Jan/22    Feb/22     as % of OLP      Moratoriums 
 India                28,351    25,950    23,782             22%             100% 
 Pakistan                  0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Sri Lanka                 0         0         0              0%               0% 
 The Philippines           0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Myanmar                 778         0         0              0%               0% 
 Ghana                     0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Nigeria                   0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Sierra Leone              0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Kenya                     0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Uganda                    0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Tanzania                  0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Rwanda                    0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Zambia                    0         0         0              0%               0% 
 Total                29,129    25,950    23,782              6%             100% 
 

(11) Moratoriums relate to clients who have received an extension for the payment of one or more loan instalments during the month.

-- Moratoriums on loan repayments relate primarily to approximately 41% of clients in India, who accepted to benefit from the one-time debt restructuring scheme established by the RBI and confirmed in September 2021. See RBI Covid-19 Restructuring Guidelines .

-- The moratorium amount across the Group decreased to USD 23.8m, which represents 6 % of the Group's Gross OLP.

Key events in March 2022

-- On 14 March 2022, the RBI announced new regulation for the microfinance sector in India, applicable to all banks, NBFC-MFIs and other participants in the microfinance sector. The Group's preliminary assessment is that this is a positive development for ASA India as it creates a level playing field in the microfinance sector. The key changes include the removal of the interest rate cap and margin cap, loans shall be collateral-free (also for banks providing microfinance loans), and lenders will be restricted to provide microfinance loans to clients up to a maximum of 50% of the client's household income. See Reserve Bank of India - Notifications (rbi.org.in)

-- Other than the existing partial lockdown and curfews in Myanmar, the Company is not aware of any further restrictions implemented in its operating countries as a result of the emergence of the Omicron variant up until 17 March 2022.

Please note that, while the Company's operational performance appears to gradually normalize in most countries except for India and Myanmar, the risk of additional challenges to our operations should not be underestimated, due to (i) the still relatively high infection rates, (ii) the current lack of available vaccines as well as vaccine hesitancy in most of our operating countries, (iii) the risk of the introduction of more infectious Covid variants in our operating countries, and (iv) the associated disruption this may cause to the businesses of our clients.

---

Enquiries:

ASA International Group plc

Investor Relations +31 6 2030 0139

Véronique Schyns vschyns@asa-international.com

About ASA International Group plc

ASA International Group plc (ASAI: LN) is one of the world's largest international microfinance institutions, with a strong commitment to financial inclusion and socioeconomic progress. The company provides small, socially responsible loans to low-income, financially underserved entrepreneurs, predominantly women, across South Asia, South East Asia, West and East Africa.

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