Kingfisher loss widens to Rs 754 cr, will revival plan be enough?

Debt-ridden Kingfisher Airlines, grounded for over a month after a violent staff protest and concerns about safety, widened its quarterly loss from a year ago because of a steep decline in revenues.

The company said it is preparing a comprehensive plan to restart operations soon.

 Kingfisher loss widens to Rs 754 cr, will revival plan be enough?

Kingfisher is preparing a comprehensive plan for re-start of operations. AFP

The airline posted a record net loss of Rs 754 crore for the September quarter, compared with a loss of Rs 469 crore a year earlier. The net loss includes one-time cost of Rs 448 crore, the carrier said.

Revenues declined 87 percent to Rs200 crore from Rs1550 crore a year ago as the airline operated only a limited fight schedule, with just 20 planes compared with 65 planes a year ago.

Kingfisher is preparing a comprehensive plan for re-start of operations which will be shared with the airline regulator and bankers, the carrier said in a statement.

"The airline is in discussion with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions. Kingfisher Airlines expects to resume operations in the near future," the statement said.

The airline has been grounded since 1 October and it admitted that it has incurred substantial losses and that its networth has been eroded.

Kingfisher shares are down 39 percent this year, closing at Rs 12.8 before the earnings release early on Thursday, a tiny fraction of their all-time peak above Rs 334 in late 2007.

The Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) suspended its licence last month, after Kingfisher failed to address its concerns over safety. The government may not renew Kingfisher's licence to fly, due to expire on December 31, if the ailing carrier fails to provide a turnaround plan by then.

Kingfisher's lenders have been putting pressure on promoter Vijay Mallya to bring in capital to revive the carrier. It needs to raise or commit at least $1 billion by November 30 since lenders are not looking at liquidating the carrier's assets as of now.

State Bank of India (SBI), the largest lender to ailing Kingfisher Airlines, wants the airline's promoters to bring in a minimum of Rs 5,400 crore from any source by month-end for its revival.

"We do not put a gun on their head...I think about $1 billion would be a good starting point but the more comes in the better because airlines are a very capital intensive business," SBI Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri said on Wednesday.

The consortium, led by SBI, has made available a total Rs 7,000 crore to Kingfisher to help it keep flying. Kingfisher is burdened with a loss of Rs 8,000 crore and a debt burden of another over Rs 7,524 crore, a large part of that has not been serviced since January.

Chaudhuri said loans given to the debt-ridden airline, promoted by liquor baron Vijay Mallya, has been non-performing and SBI has already made provision for the debt as per RBI's norms.

Agencies

Updated Date: Dec 20, 2014 13:32:54 IST