Is an Indian investor eyeing a stake in Kingfisher airlines?

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Vijay Mallya

Mumbai, Nov 16: With the King of Good Times, Vijay Mallya having to face some harrowing time recently due to the cash crunch in Kingfisher airlines, there seem to be hope looming in the horizon when Mallya stated that he has been approached by a "large Indian investor" for a stake in the airline.

The press conference by Mallya yesterday had cleared the air on the doubts and anxieties surrounding the airline, with Mallya declaring that it was "unfair to write its epitaph". He also added that the KFA had appointed SBI Capital Markets to ascertain the financial requirements of the airline and suggest options.

Rubbishing rumous of a govt bailout, he said, "We have not asked the government to dip into the taxpayers' coffers to bail out Kingfisher. We have never done that, we will never do that."

Agreeing that he could have handled the matter well, Mallya made the comments in public and said, "We could have handled the situation better but it was a commercially prudent decision. The cancellations were not because we could not afford to fly but because of aircraft reconfiguration."

Mallya expressed extreme confidence on the financial situation of the airlines and said, "A lot has been said about our debt. Having Rs 6,500 crore debt is not abnormal in aviation. One of our main rivals has more than double our debt. We are all facing a challenging operating environment."

On the other contentious issue of Foreign Direct Investment in the aviation sector, Mallya said that he was always in favour of FDI in aviation and said, "I am an avid supporter of FDI in aviation. I don't see any reason why FDI from strategic partners like an airline should be banned or not permitted. Who would understand the airline business more than an airline itself?"

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