Mallya hopes to revive Kingfisher Airlines soon

Bangalore, Sep 24 (IANS) Beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines chairman Vijay Mallya is betting on reviving his defunct carrier in the next three months as talks were on for an equity stake sale to a potential investor.

"We expect a revival soon as talks are on with a potential investor and the outcome would be known in about 90 days," Mallya told reporters Tuesday on the margins of the loss-making company's annual general meeting (AGM) here.

Mallya, however, declined to name the potential investor, as the investor was very sensitive to the identity being revealed and he would not like to breach confidentiality.

"I am not in a position to share anything at this moment as it would breach the confidentiality of agreement. My estimate is we will know the outcome (of talks) in the next three months. It could be longer or even earlier," he said.

Employees and shareholders, who attended the AGM, expressed reservation over the working of the debt-ridden airline even if it is revived with fresh capital.

"We do not have much hope of revival even with a investor coming on board as the business model and the way the airline was operated was not right," a shareholder told Mallya at the AGM.

Admitting that the aviation industry was burdened with rising turbine fuel, depreciated rupee and other operational overheads, Mallya said recovery was not possible only through airfares.

"Negative reports in the media led to deals falling through and the employees' indefinite strike resulted in the license being revoked," he noted.

An employee, who was present at the AGM, however said, they (employees) had worked for seven months without salaries and forced to stop flying as the airline did not pay them for the last 14 moths till date.

The cash-strapped airline reported a net loss of Rs.4,301 crore for fiscal 2012-13, against a loss of Rs.2,328 crore in 2011-12 and the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) had suspended its permit in October 2012 on safety concerns and indefinite strike by its employees.

With an accumulated losses of Rs.16,023 crore and a negative net worth of Rs.12,919.81 crore, the airline has a debt of Rs.8,000 crore from a consortium of 14 banks, aircraft leasing firms, airportoperators, state-run oil marketing firms and other vendors.

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