State Bank of India Chairman Pratip Chaudhuri wants the beleaguered Kingfisher Airlines (KFA) to act quickly on repaying its bank loans. When asked if he is willing to give the airline more time, Chaudhuri said, “No….time is of essence. So, we think the company should act faster. It is a big company and with a whole group of banks, action is happening.”

A consortium meeting of 17 lenders led by State Bank of India is likely to take a call on February 12 on initiating recovery proceedings, including a change of management, against the debt-laden airline, said a senior banker close to the development. Though banks and KFA management have held talks over the last one year for recovering their dues and reviving the airline, no headway has been made yet. The airline owes about Rs 7,000 crore to banks.

Last month, Chaudhuri said that KFA, in its presentation, did not come up with anything concrete for the banks. “They (promoters) had a lot of plans for their creditors and oil companies,” the SBI Chief said on the sidelines of the launch of the IL&FS Financial Services Infrastructure Debt Fund.

“It (KFA) is a problem asset….A consensus can only emerge when the company comes out with a credible plan,” he added.

(This article was published on February 9, 2013)
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