State Bank of India on Tuesday said it will be difficult for lenders to provide more funds to debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines unless the airline pays Rs 100 crore to restore a bank guarantee invoked after the carrier failed to repay its loans or makes good the default.
"It (Kingfisher Airlines) is right now an NPA (non-performing asset). In Q3, it was sub-standard. Until such time the default is cleared, banks are finding it difficult to lend more. If Kingfisher becomes an NPA, we don't have a choice. Neither does the company," SBI chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters.
SBI, the leader of the consortium of banks that has lent funds to Kingfisher Airlines, has loan exposure of Rs 1,457.78 crore to the struggling firm. SBI's exposure is the highest among any of the lenders to the airline, followed by IDBI Bank (Rs 727.63 crore), Punjab National Bank (Rs 710.33 crore), Bank of India (Rs 575.27 crore) and Bank of Baroda (Rs 537.51 crore).
The private carrier is in a financial mess and struggling to service its loans, which have run up to over Rs 6,000 crore.
Chaudhuri further said the Vijay Mallya-led airline had time till to December 20 to make good its loan repayment defaults or restore the guarantees, but has done neither and so it continues to be classified as an NPA.
"There are some guarantees, they got invoked on September 20. The company had time till December 20 to either pay the guarantees or restore them. They have done neither, so it continues to be an NPA. The default is about Rs 100 crore, if they secure the default, if they pay up the cash then it will become a standard loan. If the account becomes a sub-standard NPA, then it becomes difficult for banks," he said.
Kingfisher reported a net loss of Rs 469 crore for the July-September quarter of the current fiscal, though its revenues rose by 10.2% to Rs 1,528 crore. In the last fiscal ended March 31, 2011, it posted a loss of more than Rs 1,000 crore.
Late last year, Kingfisher announced various business rationalisation initiatives, including phasing out of its low-cost Kingfisher Red service and reconfiguration of its fleet.
The airline has been under pressure from its huge debt liability, besides increased expenses associated with fuel costs and operations, and had restructured its loans last year to lower costs.
It is also said to be in talks with banks and some potential investors for fresh funds.