Free Press Journal

Mallya’s USL exit: Kingfisher Airlines lenders to move DRT


Mumbai: The consortium of 17 lenders to the long grounded Kingfisher Airlines have decided to move the Debt Recovery Tribunal (DRT) against the airline Chairman Vijay Mallya to stake claim on the USD 75 million severance package he will be getting for quitting United Spirits (USL).

Last week, Mallya quit as chairman of USL after Diageo, the majority owner of the country’s largest liquor company, agreed to pay him USD 75 million (Rs 515 crore) in a sweetheart deal, that has since then came under markets regulator Sebi glare as well as minority shareholders.

“Since Mallya had given personal guarantees for the loans given to Kingfisher, this money (which he will receive from Diageo) belongs to us. We have decided to move to the DRT to claim that money,” said a senior official from a public sector bank.

“We are making all out efforts to get our money back. We will use all the opportunities to recover our money bank,” said another state-run bank official.

Mallya and Kingfisher Airlines owed Rs 7,800 crore to a consortium of 17 lenders led by State Bank of India which had an exposure of over Rs 1,600 crore to the now defunct airline. Other lenders include PNB, BoB, Canara Bank, Bank of India, Central Bank, Federal Bank, Uco Bank and Dena Bank among others. As part of the deal, Diageo said it would pay USD 40 million immediately to Mallya with the balance being payablein equal installments over five years.

It will also absolve Mallya of all liabilities over alleged financial lapses at the company founded by his family. Diageo Audiotrs had found that Mallya had diverted Rs 7,200 crore of the USL funds to airline, which again was diverted elsewhere.

That apart, he is facing probe any group company United Breweries for allegedly siphoning off over Rs 1,300 crore from the company. A day after Mallya announced his exit from USL, UBHL said it would pursue the case against Mallya.

Diageo is the majority shareholder of USL with a 54.78 per cent holding, excluding the 2.38 per cent owned by the USL Benefit Trust.

World’s largest liquor company by revenue took over USL in 2013 in an over Rs 11,000 crore deal.