The Straits Times
Published on Oct 28, 2012

India's Mallya will not sell 'family silver' for Kingfisher


GREATER NOIDA, India (REUTERS) - Indian liquor baron Vijay Mallya does not have to do a deal with UK drinks giant Diageo and will not sell prized assets to rescue his grounded Kingfisher airline, he told Reuters at the weekend.

Speaking in his office at Force India, the Formula One team he co-owns, the UB Group head poured scorn on media reports that he would be forced to sell stakes in profitable businesses to fund cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines Ltd, which had its licence suspended by authorities last week.

"That is the media perspective of what I am going to do. I am not so sure that I lack commercial acumen to the extent that I would sell a hugely thriving, successful business to take the cash and put it into an airline in an environment such as India," Mr Mallya said at the Indian Grand Prix at the Buddh International Circuit south of New Delhi.

"My group is sufficiently cash-generative to fund the airline as we have done. We have put almost 150 million pounds (S$300 million) since April 2012 into the airline. But that has not meant that I have had to sell my family silver to fund the airline."