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Not aware of any deadline set by lenders of Kingfisher: Mallya

Last Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 23:27

New Delhi: UB Group chief Vijay Mallya Friday said he is not aware of any deadline given by bankers on recapitalisation of his airline Kingfisher, a comment that comes three days after SBI said the carrier will not fly again if it does not get capital "by month-end".

"I am not aware of any deadline given to Kingfisher by its bankers. I am sorry to say but we have not received any communication in this regard," Mallya said in a conference call while announcing the Rs 11,166-cr deal between United Spirits and Diageo Plc.

On Tuesday, SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri had said: "Banks' consortium has done everything possible to make the company (Kingfisher) work. Only the company is not working... The management has to get capital. We have given time till November 30 that they should get capital otherwise the company will not fly...."

SBI is the lead bank to ailing Kingfisher Airlines, which has accumulated losses to nearly Rs 9,000 crore as on September 30 due to huge restructuring costs, prior-period tax payments, costs related to its heavy debt burden of about Rs 8,000 crore and disrupted operations.

Asserting that he along and his team is working to make the grounded carrier fly again, Mallya said: "We are working towards a comprehensive rehabilitation plan, including recapitalisation of the airline."

He asserted that the money received from Diageo will not be used to bail out the airline, which has been grounded since September 30.

"Each individual companies are public entities. So the the Kingfisher Airlines issues will be resolved by the the Kingfisher Airlines and UB Holdings... It would be unfortunate if you try to link this transaction with the airline. Let’s not cross contaminate everything and interrelate everything," Mallya said.

Stating that he had taken decisions to "do whatever is best for my businesses", the liquor baron said: "I have done what is best for my beer and I have done what is best for my spirit business. I will do the best for the airline, but separately... I will address the Kingfisher problems fairly and squarely. These are mutually exclusive."

On Thursday, Kingfisher Airlines had posted a net loss of Rs 754 crore for July-September quarter, widening by 61 percent from Rs 469 crore in year-ago period, making it the 23rd straight quarter of losses for the carrier.

SBI wants the airline's promoters to bring in a minimum of USD 1 billion (about Rs 5,400 crore) from any source by month-end for its revival.

The consortium of 17 banks, led by SBI, have been meeting regularly to help the cash-strapped airline. The consortium has made available a total Rs 7,000 crore to Kingfisher to help it keep flying. SBI has over Rs 1,500-crore of exposure to Kingfisher.

As part of debt recovery process, the bankers in July had decided to sell off Kingfisher's non-core assets that include Kingfisher House in Mumbai and a villa belonging to Mallya in Goa.

Last month, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended the flying licence of Kingfisher following the airline's failure to come up with a viable plan of financial and operational revival.


First Published: Friday, November 9, 2012 - 21:33
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