Liquor biz may rescue airline

Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya may have to dig into his flagship liquor business and sell stakes in his other firms, such as Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers Ltd (MCFL), to raise cash to resuscitate the airline.

The airline, whose licence was suspended by DGCA, requires immediate capital infusion of about Rs. 3,300 crore, a bulk of which may have to come from his spirits portfolio, but it could involve ceding control to potential suitors, such as Diageo, industry sources said.

They said Mallya, who is in London, is closeted with top executives, leading negotiations for a possibly complex deal to divest equity in his liquor business.

Mallya, the sources said, is keen on demanding a “control premium” if he is to surrender ownership and control over USL that reported a net profit of Rs. 343 crore in 2011-12.

Mallya holds 27.8% stake in USL. He could get Rs. 1,500 crore plus the negotiated control premium, which could help resuscitate Kingfisher. A consortium of 17 banks, to whom KFA owes about Rs. 7,600 crore, can sell off the airline’s assets but prefer giving Mallya elbow room for FDI or the option to sell stakes in his other businesses.


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