Will Force India team collapse when Kingfisher collapses?

UPDATE #4 This rumor is downgraded to 'false' today. The Subrata Roy-led Sahara Group, beleaguered by Supreme Court pressures and a probe into the funds involving its depositors, says its prized sporting possessions covering cricket, hockey and Formula 1 teams will be unaffected by the regulatory assault it is facing.

The Sahara group owns the Pune Warriors India IPL team, is the India cricket team sponsor, is the principal sponsor of the national hockey team and also partly owns the Sahara Force India F1 team.

The Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI) last week said it would sell assets of two Sahara group companies if the conglomerate’s chief Subrata Roy and three other top executives fail to appear personally before it on April 10 after furnishing details of their assets and bank accounts.

SEBI, the stock market watchdog, will seek the sale of properties across the country ranging from the posh Aamby Valley near Pune to land in Mumbai, Delhi and Gurgaon if Roy and three directors — Vandana Bhargava, Ravi Shanker Dubey and Ashok Roy Choudhary —fail to appear.

Properties of Sahara Housing Investment Corporation Ltd (SHICL) and Sahara India Real Estate Corporation Ltd (SIRECL) and the companies' executives, as well as liquid assets were ordered to be attached in February after SEBI said the Sahara group had defaulted on two payments to investors.

Last month, SEBI moved the Supreme Court seeking permission to arrest Roy.

The company said these orders will not affect the sports properties.

“The SEBI Order does not direct attachment of bank accounts and/or assets of Sahara group entities having sponsorship contracts with BCCI and India’s hockey team. The said entities are free to make payments and carry on their business. In fact, after the SEBI order, BCCI has been paid as per contractual obligation towards the sponsorship for the Indian cricket team," the company said in a statement emailed to HT.

End of the road for Mallya or will the shareholders be the ones to get screwed?

02/14/13 Force India insisted Thursday its Grand Prix team would be able to carry on despite co-owner Vijay Mallya's financial problems.

Shares in Indian businessman Mallya's debt-laden Kingfisher Airlines plunged Wednesday after banks said they would start recalling loans worth $1.5 billion.

The liquor baron is, though, expected to recoup funds from the $2 billion sale of a majority stake in India's United Spirits but the deal must still clear regulatory hurdles.

Despite its name, the Force India Grand Prix team is based at the nerve centre of British Formula One at the Silverstone track in central England.

And deputy team principal Bob Fernley stressed there was a financial as well as geographical separation between Mallya's other business interests and Force India.

"There is a disconnect between what happens in Vijay's business and what Vijay is doing on the F1 team," Fernley told the jamesallenonf1.com website.

"So it doesn't matter what happens there. The shares in United Spirits have quadrupled in the last few months, so he did a wonderful deal there.

"But whether Kingfisher or United Spirits is doing well or not doesn't affect the team, and it's very difficult for us to get that message across, although we have been trying for several years.

"We get a story every three or four months where we are about to go bankrupt, or someone is selling us or whatever, and we've had that for five years, so we are used to it.

"Five times a year we are up for sale. But we are still there and the strength of Force India, which so many people seem to have missed, is our shareholders.

"We don't have to go to the external market to be able to raise our race budgets. We are blessed to have quality shareholders like Vijay and Sahara (an Indian conglomerate who also sponsor the Indian cricket team)."

Earlier this month, Force India unveiled their new car for the forthcoming Formula One season but they are still to confirm the identity of British driver Paul di Resta's teammate.

However, the team confirmed Thursday that a seat fitting for former driver Adrian Sutil took place this week.

Force India is the only outfit on the Grand Prix grid yet to announce a second driver, with Sutil and current reserve Jules Bianchi the leading contenders to partner di Resta.

02/14/13 This Business Today article explains why Kingfisher won't be back in business anytime soon.

02/14/13 (GMM) Force India boss Vijay Mallya's grounded airline Kingfisher appears close to folding.

Respected business newspapers, including the Wall Street Journal, said plans by Kingfisher's lenders to recall loans is "likely to cause severe financial strain" across Mallya's entire portfolio.

"Fifteen days earlier, I would have given a confident answer. Today I have none," an unnamed 'senior Kingfisher executive' is quoted as saying.

An aviation official told the Times of India newspaper: "It is almost the end of the road for Kingfisher."

The Business Standard said among collateral available to lenders are assets like helicopters, while Mallya's villa in Goa, India, is being sold.

The Financial Times said another of Mallya's houses near Mumbai has already been collateralized.

Representing Kingfisher's lenders, the State Bank of India's deputy managing director Shyamal Acharya told The Hindu: "We gave them enough time. They are not saying anything new or credible."

02/13/13 Concerns over the future of Kingfisher Airlines escalated as bank lenders said they could begin calling in 85bn Rupees (£1.02bn) of loans to the airline, declaring that the carrier’s founder and Force India F1 team owner Vijay Mallya had been “given enough time to repay."

The demands from a consortium of 17 banks, led by the State Bank of India, put pressure on the Indian industrialist to produce any white knight investors or see the grounded airline collapse entirely.

Shyamal Acharya, deputy managing director at the State Bank of India, told reporters: “Banks have run out of patience. Consortium members felt that the matter has reached a dead end. Here is a case maybe for the termination of [the] relationship. So we decided to consider recalling the loan."

Kingfisher’s shares plunged 5pc in Mumbai yesterday.

The loan call-in could force Mr. Mallaya to liquidate other businesses and even personal assets. Parts of his brewing empire, United Breweries Group, are thought to be collateral against the Kingfisher loans. The industrialist’s family home in Goa has also been collateralized, reportedly. Kingfisher could not be reached for comment.

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