Embattled Mallya could depart Force India UPDATE
Lenders to cash-strapped Kingfisher Airlines, which has been grounding planes and cutting routes to stay aloft, are awaiting a report on the airline's viability before they approve a $133 million loan, banking sources said on Monday.
|Problems mount for Vijay Mallya's Kingfisher Airlines|
SBI Capital Markets Ltd, a unit of State Bank of India, has been hired by the banking consortium to draft a report on the carrier's financial outlook.
That report has yet to be submitted, two sources with direct knowledge of the matter said.
The chairman of State Bank of India, the biggest lender to Kingfisher, said the banks were looking for a solution.
"We are trying to help Kingfisher," Pratip Choudhuri told Reuters on Monday morning.
Asked if the banks were open to lending more to the airline, he said: "Everything is on the table".12/14/11 (GMM) There may be changes afoot behind the scenes at Force India, according to a veteran F1 newspaper correspondent.
Roger Benoit, who has written for Switzerland's Blick for decades, has this week reported new "speculation" about the Silverstone based team.
"Is (team boss and owner) Dr Vijay Mallya in real financial trouble?" he wrote. "Will the new co-owner, the Sahara Group, soon take over the whole team?"
Benoit's report follows news the bank accounts of Mallya's debt-ridden airline Kingfisher have been frozen due to tax payment defaults.
His Blick report also linked Mallya's problems with the delays about confirmation of Force India's 2012 driver lineup.
Italy's Autosprint agrees: "There have recently been differences between Vijay and his new partner, Sahara".
Nonetheless, it is expected that Paul di Resta will be confirmed for next season on Thursday, with 2011 reserve driver Nico Hulkenberg to be his teammate.
Benoit said the Ferrari-contracted rookie Jules Bianchi could replace Hulkenberg as Friday driver.