Diageo deal could pull Kingfisher back
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Kingfisher Airlines needs a significant cash infusion if it is to be revived, said Amber Dubey, head of aviation at KPMG. Diversion of some funds from the United Spirits deal may be a good first step.
However, he said the airline would need more funds to continue operations on a sustainable basis, he said.
Diageo agreed to buy a majority stake in United Spirits for $2.1 billion after months of talks, fuelling a push by the world's biggest spirits group into fast-growing markets.
United Spirits and Mallya's group company United Breweries Holdings will get about half of the sum. Sources said the bulk of this will be used to pare United Spirits' debt and release its shares, which were pledged by its founders to raise loans.
Mallya may infuse some of the proceeds into Kingfisher to pay staff salaries, airport fees and fuel bills to make it airworthy again, said investment banking sources and analysts.
A Kingfisher spokesman did not respond to a request for comments.
RETURN SOME MONEY
Mallya, known for his lavish lifestyle and often referred to as India's Richard Branson, last week played down any link between the United Spirits deal and problems at his airline.
Kingfisher, which Mallya launched with much fanfare in 2005, was once India's second-largest airline by domestic market share. For most of this year, the carrier has struggled to pay its staff, and it has not flown since early October due to protests and safety concerns.
In the event of Kingfisher's demise, its creditors would hardly get anything back as India does not have a formal bankruptcy process. Analysts say they may be willing to find some middle ground, lured by the prospect of getting at least some of their money back after the airline resumes flying.
Lenders will meet with company senior executives later this month to discuss a turnaround plan, banking sources said.
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