Will recapitalise Kingfisher, FDI or not: Mallya

Vijay Mallya, promoter of the deeply troubled Kingfisher Airlines, has said that he would ''recapitalise the airline, FDI or no FDI''. He seems to be mainly banking on further capital infusion from a consortium of lenders, largely comprising public sector banks.

Kingfisher has been keenly hoping for the government to allow foreign direct investment (FDI) in India's airlines, but this proposal is unlikely to be cleared in time to help the liquor baron's crippled airline.

According to a report in The Times of India, highly placed government sources said Mallya has told aviation authorities that he will meet finance ministry officials to get banks to open their purse-strings if FDI is not cleared within a fortnight, as the airline is likely to collapse if it fails to raise funds soon.

Seeking to dismiss doubts about the airline's survival, Mallya said he is focusing on "sustainable profitability". The airline is struggling to keep airborne with a debt burden of Rs7,500 crore, mainly from banks; and combined debts, dues and losses of Rs14,000 crore. Banks have asked him to infuse equity before seeking additional loans.

Mallya, who had made a similar claim about the airline being close to getting funds at a press conference in Mumbai last November, did not give details of the funding plan.

"I will share the funding plans at an appropriate time. As of now, all I will say is Kingfisher will be back to its glory and be sustainably profitable. That is why we are keeping the employees on our rolls. It is sad that they have not been paid for some time but we are working very hard to resolve all issues," he said.