Vijay Mallya nearing deal with 14 banks to save Kingfisher airlines.

Kingfisher AirlinesMumbai: The chairman of Kingfisher Airlines, Vijay Mallya, said in an interview with the Financial Times that he was close to sealing a $370 million deal with an Indian private investor and a consortium of banks that would save the airline.

The Bangalore-based entrepreneur told the FT, he was nearing a deal with 14 banks leads by State Bank of India that would offer the loss-making carrier with working capital of 6 billion rupees ($118 million).

Prior this week, Kingfisher said that its net loss for the September quarter doubled but Mallya offered little to revitalize its finances. It had also said that it had been approached by strategic investors.

Mallya, a glitzy liquor baron who owns a Formula One motor-racing team, told the paper that he was finalising a separate $250 million equity injection from an unnamed wealthy Indian individual to recapitalise the cash-strapped carrier.

He added that he was about to conclude a deal with the banks to lessen the interest rate which the airline is presently paying on its $1.4 billion debt pile.

Kingfisher’s share which is named after its parent firm’s best-selling beer, were down over 5 percent in early trade on Friday in Mumbai.

Kingfisher, which listed when it bought out budget airline, Air Deccan in 2008, has never made a profit and its market value has forced 64 percent this year.

The airline became India’s No. 2 private carrier since it started operations in 2005 as the economy boomed but it has become one of the key losses of high fuel costs and a ferocious price war between a handful of airlines which, between them, have ordered hundreds of aircraft for delivery over the next decade in an determined bet on the future.


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