Thursday, March 03, 2016

Vijay Mallya’s sole regret: Kingfisher not flying when oil is cheap

New Delhi: With banks going after him to recover unpaid loans given to long-grounded Kingfisher Airlines, beleaguered businessman Vijay Mallya remains defiant and says the “only regret” he has that the carrier is not flying when the oil price has dipped so low. ”I have no regrets as such. Perhaps the only regret is that Kingfisher Airlines is not flying today when the oil price is so low,” Mallya said. Global crude oil prices have fallen by almost 75 per cent from the peak seen in mid-2014. While airlines in India still complain that the fall in crude prices has not got translated fully in the aviation fuel prices, their fuel cost has still come down by 30-40 per cent.
Most airlines reported better financials in the last quarter on account of low oil prices. Mallya, widely known as the ‘King of Good Times’ in his heydays, had to quit recently as Chairman of United Spirits — a company founded by his family in which he sold majority stake to UK-based liquor giant Diageo. As part of the deal that also ended a year-long boardroom battle at United Spirits, Diageo has agreed to pay Mallya USD 75 million. The settlement was sealed even as at least three banks including state-run giant SBI declaring Kingfisher, Mallya and his group holding firm UBHL (United Breweries Holding Ltd) as ‘wilful defaulters’ to recover unpaid loans amounting to thousands of crores of rupees.
03/03/16 PTI/
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