Kingfisher in talks with SC Lowly for Rs1,442cr funding

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, struggling to stay in the air amid a massive cash crunch, said today it is in discussions with Hong Kong's SC Lowy Financial and other companies to raise funds.

"We cannot comment further at this time," said Prakash Mirpuri, a spokesman for the carrier, when contacted by sections of the media. However, reliable reports put the figure under discussion at $280 million (Rs1,442 crore).

SC Lowy is a Hong Kong-based global trading and investing firm focused on distressed companies. It specialises in buying illiquid assets and creating liquidity for them.

The financially troubled airline is struggling to stay afloat. The State Bank of India and Bank of India have already started treating Kingfisher's debt as "sub-standard" after the airline defaulted on interest payments.

Kingfisher, which has never posted a profit since its inception in 2005, recently asked its lenders for an additional Rs850 crore ($167.9 million); but its Indian lenders (SBI being the largest) seem so far reluctant to play ball. It has also sought a government-sponsored bailout.

The airline has already scrapped low-cost services and delayed Airbus SAS A380 deliveries as part of a turnaround plan. Kingfisher also seeks new loans to pay for operating costs after pledging assets ranging from its brand to furniture for loans of Rs6,420 crore ($1.3 billion).