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Kingfisher has funds to resume operations; needs Rs425 crore: SBI

As per the tentative plan, Vijay Mallya told lenders he can resume operations with five aircraft and it could be scaled up to 21 planes within six weeks. He also said he does not require fresh loan or funding from lenders to restart the airlines' operations

Mumbai: Kingfisher promoter Vijay Mallya is ready to infuse funds, estimated to be in the region of Rs425 crore, into the airline to restart operation in phased manner as and when the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) gives the go-ahead, reports PTI quoting lenders of the ailing carrier.


"They have a plan for limited restart. They may start with certain number of flights, of say five aircraft, and go up within three to four months. They need Rs425 crore for resuming the operations, which they will manage on their own," SBI Deputy Managing Director for mid-corporates Shyamal Acharya told reporters after the two-hour meeting between 17-member consortium of lenders and the grounded airline.


Meanwhile, Kingfisher in a statement said, "We will restart operations in a phased manner and will provide funding ourselves. We have not asked the bank for any support."


"We have also shared full recapitalisation plan (with the lenders) which will be further discussed with a small designated group of bankers," the Vijay Mallya-promoted airline said.


However, an airline source told PTI in New Delhi that it will soon submit a revival plan to the regulator DGCA, which will pave the way for revoking of the suspension of flying licence, which it had lost on 20th October.


Apart from Mallya, from the airline's side, the meeting was attended by UB Group chief financial officer Ravi Nedungadi and airline chief executive Sanjay Agarwal, while the 17-member lenders were represented by mid-level managers.


However, a PSU bank official who also attended the meeting said that as per the tentative plan, Mallya told lenders he can resume operations with five aircraft, which is mandatory for a scheduled operator licence, and it could be scaled up to 21 planes within six weeks.


"Mallya has not sought any fresh funding from lenders. Though he did not convey how he will manage the funds, he assured us that he has the resources for the same. He also did not name the investors/airlines that he is talks with for stake sale, but asserted that he will be able to rope in someone only after he resumes operations," Acharya told reporters.


SBI has exposure of Rs1,500 crore to the Bangalore- based airline, which has turned a non-performing account since this January. So is the case with other 16 lenders who together had given Rs5,500 crore to the airline.


Acharya, however, said the management did not give any timeline for implementing its revival plan, adding, "It is difficult to say when they will restart but our group of bankers will discuss it."


Lenders have constituted a group of five banks from within the consortium to deal with the airline for resumption of operations. The members of the group are SBI, Punjab National Bank, Bank of Baroda, IDBI Bank and Bank of India, Acharya said, adding the first meeting of this group will take place in the next few days.


New grouping is aimed at speeding up the process and vetting the revival plan, he said.


Kingfisher, which has debt of nearly Rs8,000 crore and accumulated loss and liabilities of a similar amount, has been grounded since October 1 after its pilots and engineers went on a strike over non-payment of salaries for seven months.


On whether the meeting discussed sale of non-core assets, Acharya said the issue did not come up for discussions as meeting focused on short-term starting of the services."


Asked if the bankers are satisfied with the presentation Mallya made, he said, "The presentation was good but it requires some more details which obviously cannot be covered in one meeting.


"The licence is only suspended. They are confident there is no case for cancellation. They are in touch with the DGCA and this is one issue they should take care of," Acharya said.


When asked whether banks are open to restructure their loans to the airline for a second time in two years if Mallya resumes operations, Acharya said, "If the limited restart takes place as discussed and if the small group of bankers are satisfied about the details of the limited plan, then we are not averse to debt restructuring."


On whether the airline management had plans to fund the limited operations through Diageo stake sale proceeds, Acharya said, "All that money that has to come for resumption of operations may not (be) from Diageo deal but may be through the United Breweries."


Gujarat polls: Huge 68-69% turnout, four injured in violence

The final phase of balloting in 95 of Gujarat's 182 seats saw a huge voter turnout to decide the electoral fate of 822 candidates including Narendra Modi and Shankar Singh Vaghela

Ahmedabad: An estimated 68-69% of 1.98 crore electors on Monday cast their votes in the second and final phase of Gujarat polls that would decide whether Chief Minister Narendra Modi would do a hat-trick for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) or Congress return to power in the western Indian state after a gap of 22 years, reports PTI.


The poll was marred by a firing incident involving BJP MLA from Sahera in Panchmahal district Jetha Bharwad in which four people were injured. Bharwad has been detained and investigation is on.


"An estimated 68 to 69% voters exercised their franchise in the second phase of polling," a source in the state election office told PTI.


Like the first phase on 13th December when a record 70.75% voters exercised their franchise, the final phase of balloting in 95 of state's 182 seats too saw a huge voter turnout to decide the electoral fate of 822 candidates including Modi and Shankar Singh Vaghela, a former chief minister and one of the contenders for the top job if Congress returns to power.


Controversial former minister of state for home, Amit Shah, accused in Sohrabuddin Sheikh and Tulsiram Prajapati encounter cases, Health Minister Jaynarayan Vyas and Revenue Minister Anandiben Patel are also among those in the fray.


While Modi, seeking a third straight win from Maninagar, is crossing sword with Shweta Bhatt, wife of suspended IPS officer Sanjeev Bhatt, Jagruti Pandya, wife of slain BJP leader Haren Pandya of Gujarat Parivartan Party, is trying her luck from Ellis Bridge seat.


A Modi-baiter, Sanjeev Bhatt has accused Modi of complicity in post-Godhra communal riots, and is fighting legal battle against him.


Haren Pandya's family has blamed Modi for his "political murder". Pandya had twice won the Ellis Bridge seat in 1995 and 1998, before being denied BJP nomination, allegedly at the behest of Modi, in 2002 assembly polls.


BJP has fielded candidates in all 95 constituencies, while Congress is contesting in 92. GPP of former chief minister Keshubhai Patel, who broke away from BJP months ahead of the poll, and BSP are contesting 84 seats each. There are also 284 Independents in the fray.


The constituencies where polling was held included 17 in Ahmedabad city, 40 in five districts -Vadodara, Dahod, Panchmahal, Kheda and Anand- of central Gujarat, 32 in Patan, Mehsana, Sabarkantha, Gandhinagar and Banaskantha seats of north Gujarat and in six in Kutch district.


"I thank all the voters. In this election, people of Gujarat will do a hat-trick by giving a third term to us.


People of the state will once again vote BJP to power... The sentiments of people here is giving you a clear indication of that," Modi told reporters, exuding confidence after casting his vote.


"This election will be historic in India as it has been contested on the issues of good governance and development," he said.


Asked if he would shift to Delhi in the event of an emphatic win, Modi, one of the Prime Ministerial aspirants in the BJP if NDA is voted to power in the general elections, said, "I am committed to my six crore Gujaratis... I live for them and I personally believe whatever I am doing in Gujarat is a service to the nation, because Gujarat is an integral part of India."


Meanwhile, Congress has filed a complaint against Modi for alleged violation of the model code of conduct by 'campaigning' on the polling day.


"After coming out of the polling booth, the chief minister addressed the crowd outside and by showing the 'V' sign he appealed the voters to make victorious the BJP candidate," advocate and Congress's legal cell member Vijay Kanara, who filed the complaint with the election authorities, said.


"He is not a candidate from the area where he cast his ballot and appealing for victory of BJP candidate is a clear violation of model code of conduct and EC should immediately take action against him," said Kanara, who also objected to Modi coming there in a large convoy with scores of party workers and supporters.


Barring the firing incident at Tarsang village in Sahera constituency in Panchmahal district in which four people were injured, balloting was by and large peaceful across the state.


"At present Jetha Bharwad is under detention and further probe is underway to ascertain who exactly fired, Bharwad or his commando," said DGP Chittranjan Singh.


According to Panchmahal SP Sachin Badshah, Bharwad was attacked by a stone-pelting crowd following which his bodyguard opened fire wounding four people.


Bharwad received head injury and has been detained while undergoing treatment at a local hospital.


His Congress rival Takhatsingh Solanki, who belongs to Tarsang, alleged, "It was pre-planned by Jetha Bharwad so that he can terrorise the voters of my village and engage in bogus voting. Otherwise he has no business to enter in my village at the time of voting."


Serpentine queues were seen since morning outside polling stations with women and youth turning out in large numbers.


The massive voting in urban pockets and districts of north and central Gujarat, is expected to shore up the electoral prospects of BJP as Keshubhai's Leuva community voters are fewer in number in these areas.


Kadva Patels along with Leuvas have been traditional voters of BJP, but in seats of Saurashtra and Kutch belt a section of the latter was said to have voted against the saffron party candidates.


BJP hopes to nullify whatever damage octogenarian Keshubhai's party might have caused it in Saurashtra-Kutch belt aided by heavy polling in the urban sprawls, which have seen rapid development under Modi, and seats of north and central Gujarat.


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