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No quick solution to Kingfisher woes: SBI

Press Trust of India
Sep 05, 2012 at 08:34pm IST

Mumbai: Sounding pessimistic about the fate of its exposure to Kingfisher Airlines, State Bank of India chairman Pratip Chaudhuri on Wednesday said solution to the airline's problems was unlikely to come anytime soon.

"I think this is a difficult case, so nobody should expect a quick solution," said Chaudhuri, whose bank has the largest (Rs 1,500 crore) exposure in the Rs 8,000 crore bank loans of the airline promoted by Vijay Mallya.

Chaudhuri was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a Ficci-IBA banking event here this evening, after inconclusive meeting between officials of airline and bankers earlier.

No quick solution to Kingfisher woes: SBI

Kingfisher Airlines is now operating at around 75 flights, down from its peak of over 340 flights a day.

He said more rounds of talks would be needed. "(Today's meeting) has added an urgency to all the steps that have been taken, like unlocking the value of all the non-core assets of the airline," he said.

Chaudhuri further said the bankers require concrete action from Kingfisher, and cannot "go by promises or projections" anymore. An improvement is possible only if the airline gets additional capital, he added.

About Wednesday's meeting, Chaudhuri said bankers have sought additional details from Mallya and have asked him to be present in the next meeting in September. "We think that it is necessary to have a clearer picture from Mallya himself."

He, however, ruled out the possibility of topping-on the existing collaterals, stating there is nothing left with the promoters or the company to pledge.

"All the companies are largely pledged. I don't know whether there is a room for topping on."

The company, which is now operating at around 75 flights from its peak of over 340 flights a day before the crisis broke out last October, should urgently expand and scale up its operations, Chaudhuri said.

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