Companies & Sectors
Kingfisher, lenders meet inconclusive

The meeting could not make any headway as the Vijay Mallya-led Kingfisher Airlines could not commit on fresh fund infusion


Mumbai: The much-anticipated meeting between the management of the crippled Kingfisher Airlines with the consortium of 17 banks, which have a combined stressed exposure of over Rs7,500 crore to airline, on Thursday failed to make any headway, reports PTI.

The meeting, held in Mumbai at the State Bank of India (SBI) headquarters, was attended by most of the lenders and the airlines' chief executive officer Sanjay Aggarwal and chief financial officer HG Raghunath.

Though the airline made a presentation, they could not commit on fresh fund infusion, according to bankers.

Lenders' sources said the meeting could not make any headway as the company could not commit on fresh fund infusion.

They said that they have appointed HDFC Securities to value two of the already pledged properties of Kingfisher--the Airline House in suburban Andheri here which has a market value of around Rs90 crore and a villa in Goa, having a market value of Rs30 crore.

According to banking sources, the existing 17 lenders also discussed the loan sell-off by ICICI Bank (worth Rs430 crore) early this week to a hedge fund run by Srei Infra Finances.

Bankers, who have over 20% stake in the airlines following last Corporate Debt Restructuring (CDR), also said they may meet next month.

At the last meeting of the consortium in March, the bankers insisted on the promoters bringing in at least 50% of the fresh funding requirement (around Rs2,000 crore) as a precondition for any new advances to the airline, after it stopped servicing its loan from January.


Telcos to buy wind, solar power to reduce carbon footprint

Telecom towers in the country burnt diesel worth over Rs12,500 crore last fiscal to run generator sets


Mumbai: Apex telecom industry bodies -- GSM operators body Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) and CDMA lobby Association of Unified Telecom Service Providers of India (AUPSI) said they have placed a power purchase order with seven renewable energy generation companies (Rescos) to power as many as one lakh telecom towers, reports PTI.

"The umbrella body of telecom tower companies, Tower & Infrastructure Providers Association (TAIPA), had two months ago sent a request for proposal (RFP) to seven Rescos like Moser Bayer and ABB, informing of readiness to buy their entire generation to power our 1 lakh towers," Cellular Operators Association of India (COAI) director general Rajan S Mathews told PTI.

Though the initial response was positive, Rescos have some doubts about the viability of such projects and that they are in talks with companies to iron out the issues, he said.

Telecom towers in the country burnt diesel worth over Rs12,500 crore last fiscal to run generator sets, according to an estimate.

When asked about sharing telecom towers to bring down air pollution as also the alleged radiation threat (which both Coai and AUPSI today termed as "unfounded and scientifically not proven"), Mathews said: "Already 70 per cent towers have over two customers and the rest have three to four."

"There is so much misrepresentation about incidence of brain tumours and use of cell phones. The incidence of brain tumours in the country has been unchanged over the past one decade. Hence, introduction of cellular phones and mobile services does not seem to have increased the risk of brain tumours and cancer," Mathews said in a presentation citing many independent studies.

He further claimed that radio waves have been in the environment since times immemorial and the same waves used in wireless telecommunications have not been scientifically proven to cause any harmful effects to human health.

Mathews also said strength of radiation received from base stations is considerably lower than the strength of radiation from radio and television transmitters, and 15 years of studies examining a potential relationship between radio frequency transmitters and cancer have not provided evidence that exposure to mobile towers increases the risk of cancer.


Lack of transparency persists over lending rates says RBI

Even after the introduction of the base rate system there is lack of transparency in the customer-specific spread charged to a borrower over the base rate

Chennai: Concerned over the lack of transparency in bank lending rates, Reserve Bank of India (RBI) Governor D Subbarao said the central bank has set up a working group to address the issue, reports PTI.

"One problem that has persisted even after the introduction of the base rate system relates to the lack of transparency in the customer-specific spread charged to a borrower over the base rate," Subbarao said in his IOB Platinum Jubilee Oration Series in Chennai.

"There have been complaints that the spread charged to a customer has been revised upwards without any apparent change in his/her risk profile," he said.

Also, where floating rate loans are concerned, existing customers have been disadvantaged vis-a-vis new customers with similar credit ratings, resulting in complaints about discrimination, he said.

In order to address this malady, Subbarao said the RBI has set up a working group under chairmanship of Deputy Governor Anand Sinha to determine the principles that must govern proper, transparent and non-discriminatory pricing of credit.

The working group is expected to submit its report by next month, he added.

To improve transparency in interest rate, RBI introduced the base rate from 1 July 2010 in place of the benchmark prime lending rate (BPLR).

Base rate is the minimum lending rate below which a bank cannot lend. However, in the BPLR system, banks were allowed to lend below the benchmark rate.

The BPLR was introduced by the RBI in 2003 to serve as a benchmark rate for lending.


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