Kingfisher Airlines 'not a mistake', says Mallya
Live Punjab News Service
New Delhi -- Vijay Mallya, chairman of United Breweries, said Saturday that his Kingfisher Airlines, despite its losses of Rs.3.47 billion in the first 18 months of its operations, was "not a mistake".
"Kingfisher Airlines will never go belly-up," Mallya insisted in an interview to Karan Thapar for the programme "Devil's Advocate" on CNN-IBN. He claimed that his airline would survive the current shakeout and bloodbath in the domestic civil aviation market.
Mallya said despite heavy losses, his airline was not desperate for cash though there have been expressions of interest from a few private equity investors. He added that the company would break even by 2009.
"There have been expressions of interest from more than just two private equity investors. Actually they are (still) talking to us. But we aren't desperately looking for cash because we have no need to desperately seek cash," Mallya said.
Ruling out the possibility of bringing an IPO (initial public offering) by Kingfisher Airlines in the near future, he said: "Kingfisher Airlines and the UB Group have consistently maintained that we are not dependent on an IPO.
"Our business model did not factor in raising public funds to run this airline," Mallya added. He said he was confident of his airline attaining the break-even point by 2009.
About his much-hyped expensive lifestyle, he said, "I live the way I live out of choice, not out of compulsion. And I spend my own money, not other people's money. There's no point in being a hypocrite and I will not be a hypocrite.
"I don't think any one suggests that personal standards of living should be consistent with what you see around you. May be some politicians choose to play the game that way but I'm certainly not going to do it," added Mallya, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha.
Asked if he would stand for re-election after his present term in the Rajya Sabha expires in 2008, he said: "Certainly I'm going to continue and I have offers which suggest that many political parties would like to see me back in the Rajya Sabha."