Thursday, 8 November 2012

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. 532747.BY +0.47% on Thursday posted a wider net loss for the three months ended in September, as revenue plunged amid a sizable cut in daily flights prior to a halt in the Indian carrier's operations.


Kingfisher Airlines Ltd Loss Widens; Revenue Slides 87%

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. 532747.BY +0.47% on Thursday posted a wider net loss for the three months ended in September, as revenue plunged amid a sizable cut in daily flights prior to a halt in the Indian carrier's operations.


The airline's net loss swelled to 7.53 billion rupees ($138.9 million) for the company's fiscal second quarter, from 4.68 billion rupees a year earlier. Revenue tumbled 87% to two billion rupees.

Expenditures fell 77% to 4.55 billion rupees, as Kingfisher operated fewer flights and many employees left the company.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd  has canceled all its flights indefinitely since Oct. 1 because of a strike over salaries and a decision by India's aviation regulator to suspend the carrier's license.

A closed Kingfisher Airlines booking counter at Indira Gandhi International Airport in New Delhi, Oct. 20.

The airline's revenue has dropped as it has slashed the number of its daily flights to about 100 from 400 last year. In recent months, it operated only 10-12 planes prior to the suspension of its operations, down from 64 last year.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd , named after India's top-selling beer, started operations in 2005 and expanded aggressively by acquiring new planes and taking over Air Deccan, then India's leading low-fare carrier, in 2007. The company also ordered the Airbus A380, the world's biggest passenger aircraft.

But it has been unprofitable from the start, hit by high fuel prices and interest rates, losses at its international operations and tough competition from rival carriers.

As of June 30, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd  had piled up losses of $1.9 billion and owed $2.5 billion to banks, suppliers and majority shareholders, according to aviation consultant CAPA-Centre for Aviation.

The crisis has worsened in recent months.









In October, pilots, engineers and technicians went on a strike, demanding payment of salaries that haven't been paid since March. The employees returned to work after 25 days, as the company promised to pay part of their salaries by the middle of November.

Meanwhile, the aviation regulator suspended Kingfisher's flying license on Oct. 20 because the airline failed to provide a plan to revive its operations.

B.K. Ramadhyani & Co., which audited the company, said Kingfisher's ability to remain viable depends on the restoration of its flying license, an infusion of funds and a restructuring of the company's debt.

In a written statement, Kingfisher Airlines Ltd  said it is "in discussions with various stakeholders to ensure that there are no future disruptions." The company added that it "expects to resume operations in the near future."

On Wednesday, Mr Pratip Chaudhuri, chairman of State Bank of India, 500112.BY +1.14% said Kingfisher needs a cash infusion of $1 billion and that it must accelerate its fundraising efforts.

State Bank of India is the carrier's main lender.

The company's lenders restructured its loans and gave it a longer tenure to repay the debt.

But they have refused to lend the airline any more unless it raises equity or gets a cash infusion from its majority shareholders. Kingfisher's parent, UB Group, 507458.BY +4.36% pumped at least 11 billion rupees into the carrier between April and the end of October.

Kingfisher Airlines Ltd  Chairman Dr Vijay Mallya recently said he was in talks with foreign carriers to sell a stake in the company. He was also in discussions with U.K.-based liquor maker Diageo DGE.LN -0.14% PLC to sell a stake in group company United Spirits Ltd. 532432.BY +3.32% as part of plans to raise cash for the Airline.





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