Kingfisher Airlines has not sought any fresh money: SBI

"Last week, we (bankers) took stock of things and the company had a board meet yesterday. After that, the company has not requested for any money," State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri told reporters on the sidelines of an event here.
"Unless the company asks for money, you cannot push it down its throat," he said.
When asked if there are worries over repayment by Kingfisher Airlines he said, "No, none whatsoever, no not at all."

Earlier in the day, airline promoter Vijay Mallya, when asked how much working capital would the airline need, said, "We require Rs 700-800 crore, which includes both fund and non-fund based.... We have pursued every opportunity to raise capital."

Chaudhuri also clarified that banks Managing Director Hemant Contractor's remarks yesterday that the Rs 800 crore capital infusion for fresh lending was a part of an earlier arrangement.

When asked if the overall situation of the airline is a concern for him, Chaudhuri said, "Not particularly...at least there is no crisis precipitated on the banking side."

Asked if a fresh round of restructuring is coming, he said, "There is no restructuring being considered. Restructuring is only in imagination. The company is not in default, the company has not made any request, so where is the question of restructuring?," Chaudhuri said.  Kingfisher, which today reported a net loss of Rs 468.66 crore for the September quarter, has taken a slew of decisions in the recent past, including cancellation of over 200 flights and shutting its low-cost airliner Kingfisher Red, which have led to speculations over its financial health.

The company's total debt is estimated to be around Rs 7,000 crore, of which Rs 1,500 crore was restructured last November.

Chaudhuri declined to comment on reports that bankers have decided to open an escrow account to manage the cash flows of the company. He merely said he was aware of any such proposal.

When asked if the bank, which owns 5 per cent in Kingfisher, will subscribe to a rights issue if the airline decides to do so, Chaudhuri said, "We are not a part of the equity game, we are part of the debt game."

The conversion of debt into equity was a one-time measure initiated earlier to help reduce the interest costs for Kingfisher, he said.

Chaudhuri said the aviation sector is experiencing over capacity but added that SBI will continue to lend to existing airlines so as to not "jeopardise" its existing exposure.
On infrastructure companies, he said the bank will be selective and lend only to strong companies like NTPC and Tata Power.

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