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SBI says Kingfisher Airlines lenders to meet in 15 days

Press Trust of India
Feb 10, 2013 at 03:40am IST

Mumbai: With the revival plan of grounded Kingfisher Airlines getting nowhere, its lead lender State Bank on Saturday said the creditors will meet in a fortnight to decide the future course of action to secure their money even as the airline chairman Vijay Mallya met employees to reassure them of the plan.

"Bankers are going to meet within 15 days. Consensus (on liquidation or whatever action that bankers take) can emerge only when the company comes up with a credible plan," said Pratip Chaudhuri, Chairman of State Bank of India having an exposure of Rs 1,600 crore not serviced since last January, to the troubled company.

He was speaking to reporters on the sidelines of a function attended by Finance Minister P Chidambaram where he launched an infra debt fund from being run by IL&FS on Saturday evening.

SBI says Kingfisher Airlines lenders to meet in 15 days

According to sources, Mallya said he was making efforts to obtain no-objection certificates from DGCA and the 17 bankers.

Earlier in the day, Mallya met a group of pilots and engineers amidst their threat to file a winding up petition and is understood to have told them that he was trying to get bankers and the regulator DGCA on board to restart the carrier.

However, Mallya did not give them any commitment on the payment of salary dues pending since May last, saying he is trying hard to get the airline off the ground. This was Mallya's first meeting with his employees since the grounding of the carrier. So far, the employees' unrest and issues were being handled by CEO Sanjay Aggarwal.

According to sources, Mallya said he was making efforts to obtain no-objection certificates from DGCA and the 17 bankers.

He is also understood to have also expressed hopes of a possible restart of the airline within this quarter. "They (KFA) made a presentation last time but we did not find that adequate," Chaudhuri said.

The SBI chief's comment comes on the heels of reports that the airline has started vacating its domestic terminal at the Mumbai airport. Earlier this week, despite not in operations, the company, which never reported profit since inception in May 2005, had reported a loss of Rs 755 crore, which its auditors contested.

Vijay Mallya-promoted airline is neck deep in debts with unserviced bank loans running into over Rs 7,000 crore and accumulated losses and unpaid vendor charges running nearly into Rs 10,000 crore.

Grounded since October 1 last, the airline lost its flying licence on December 31. The airline chairman had said he would started a limited scale operations by the summer but has not been able to convince the lenders and the regulators about financial side of the plan.

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