Diageo deal could pull Kingfisher back


When we see money in their hands we can always ask them to return some to us, a senior official with a state-run bank and one of Kingfisher lenders told Reuters, declining to say whether the bank would commit more money to the carrier.

Any decision to lend more to Kingfisher would be based on a fresh infusion of equity from its founders and a credible plan to revive the airline, State Bank of India's Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said last week.

Few doubt Mallya's capacity to pull off another surprise, bringing in an investor to rescue the airline. He told Reuters last month that two investment bankers had been hired as part of a search for potential partners.

The timing of Mallya's deal with Diego does show some intent on Mallya's part to get the airline going, said Rajan Mehra, the India head of U.S.-based private jet operator Universal Aviation, and an aviation expert.

And if some Middle East airline decides to put its muscle behind him, with all their financial strength, expertise in running successful airline models and deep interest in the Indian market, well, it's anybody's guess.

But time is not on Mallya's side: the Indian government has warned that it will not renew Kingfisher's licence if it fails to provide a turnaround plan by the end of December.

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