Shares in Mangalore Chemicals and Fertilisers (Mangalore Chemicals) hit a record high on Thursday, soaring 10 per cent to Rs68. That follows another 10 per cent rise in the previous session, as recent share purchases suggest the company may be on the verge of a takeover.
Is the empire of Vijay Mallya, the self-proclaimed King of Good Times, crumbling one company at a time?
Has India’s airline industry finally turned a corner? Possibly.
According to a new report from CAPA, the centre for aviation, total loss made by India’s airlines was “only” $1.65bn in the fiscal year ended this March. While that’s still a big loss, it’s a marked improvement from the $2.28bn loss recorded in the previous 12-month period.
Luxurious homes around the world, highly collectable cars, a stud farm, some very classy yachts famous for their “king sized parties”… Anyone would be happy to get their hands on Vijay Mallya’s assets.
Now that his creditors have run out of patience and are calling in loans to Mallya’s Kingfisher Airlines, some of them bearing the billionaire tycoon’s personal guarantee, you’d think a few of these playthings might be about to change hands. Well, maybe just a few…
What kind of financial results would you expect from a grounded airline with piles of debt and a fuming workforce? Grisly ones, of course.
So Vijay Mallya, the flamboyant billionaire tycoon behind India’s Kingfisher Airlines, must have hoped investors would assume he was taking one manfully on the chin when the company announced an after-tax loss of Rs7.55bn ($140m) for the quarter ending on December 31, 2012. Not manfully enough, according to his auditors. They say the real loss should have been Rs10.9bn.
“Malaysian beauty in search of an Indian partner to start a family with.”
“Impoverished Indian gentleman with a battered reputation in search of a companion to set him back on track. Fair complexion, good family.”
India’s aviation industry is awash with lonely hearts in search of a partner. Tony Fernandes, chief executive of Malaysia-based AirAsia, and Vijay Mallya, chairman of India’s Kingfisher Airlines, may be a good match in terms of their flamboyant personalities – but that’s where the likeness ends.
Abu Dhabi’s Etihad Airways appears to have developed a taste for Indian airlines. Just last month, there were rumours that the state-owned airline was considering investing in Vijay Mallya’s grounded airline, Kingfisher.
Then on Thursday, Jet Airways announced on the Bombay Stock Exchange that it is in discussions with Etihad regarding a possible investment in the Indian carrier.
It turns out cheap is, indeed, cheerful where Indian airlines are concerned.
According to a new global ranking, low-cost carriers IndiGo and SpiceJet expanded capacity by 34.6 per cent and 16 per cent respectively in 2012, while standard carriers Air India and Jet Airways trimmed back operations. The contrast is stark – and that’s even before the dormant Kingfisher enters the picture.
If Vijay Mallya pulls this off it will be a moment of magic and/or poor judgement.
Etihad Airways, the Gulf carrier, is on the cusp of buying a stake in the debt-encumbered Kingfisher Airlines – the airline that has been grounded since October.
Shares in Jet Airways, the Indian airline, soared by up to 15 per cent on Friday amid speculation that the company is about to announce a tie-up with a foreign carrier.
Although Jet denied that it had any such plan, its comment had little impact on the Mumbai stock market where investors seem convinced that foreign carriers are about to capitalise on recent government moves to liberalise foreign investment in air travel.
It looks like Vijay Mallya may finally have been thrown a lifeline for his embattled Kingfisher Airlines. But will it be enough?
After four long years of discussions, rumours and speculation, Diageo, the world’s largest spirits company, agreed on Friday to buy a 53.4 per cent stake in his flagship United Spirits for more than $2bn. The attraction is obvious: Diageo gains great access to India’s 1.2bn consumers and the world’s biggest whisky market. But for Mallya, the stakes are even higher.
Another quarter, another bad loss for India’s embattled Kingfisher Airlines.
Billionaire Millionaire liquor baron Vijay Mallya’s carrier reported a net loss of $138.5m in the quarter ended in September, widening from the $86.1m loss during the same quarter last year. Revenues were just $36.8m, down 87 per cent from $284.5m, according to results on Thursday.
The company headlined its press release, “Kingfisher Airlines Limited Announces Quarterly Results in line with its expectations”, and called its current status “a holding pattern”. That’s one way to put it.
Catch up with the week on beyondbrics, with the ten most popular stories from the blog, a few things we’ve learnt, and a chart. This week: Kingfisher Airlines.
At struggling Kingfisher Airlines, staff haven’t been paid for seven months. Now it seems the airline’s woes are finally hitting the pocketbook of its owner, billionaire liquor baron and self-styled ‘king of the good times’, Vijay Mallya. Actually, make that “former” billionaire.
Mallya has slipped from 49th to 73rd place on Forbes magazine’s annual India’s Richest list, as his net worth fell from $1.1bn to $800m.
In 2007, the NDTV Good Times channel was launched as a joint venture between Delhi broadcaster NDTV and United Breweries, owned by billionaire Vijay Mallya, the self-styled ‘king of the good times’.
Now a warrant is out for Mallya’s arrest and the good times are no longer rolling. But that hasn’t stopped NDTV and United’s Kingfisher beer launching their annual hunt for the Kingfisher Calendar Girl, with Mallya’s son Sid in a starring role.
With India’s stricken Kingfisher Airlines grounded since Monday by employees angry over the carrier’s failure to pay them for the last six months, many are now questioning how India’s aviation authorities permitted the airline to fly for so long with staff, who had not been paid.
Analysts say that financial stress among unpaid staff could pose a safety issue to travellers, and suggested aviation authorities were irresponsible for failing to intervene and suspend the airline’s flights earlier.