Indebted former India billionaire offers $904 million settlement
NEW DELHI: Vijay Mallya, the former Indian billionaire now hounded by creditors, offered lenders as much as 60 billion rupees ($904 million) as settlement toward debt owed by the failed airline he founded, Bloomberg TV India reported, citing his lawyers. India's Supreme Court was informed on Wednesday that he will pay about 40 billion rupees ($603 million) by the end of September and later an additional 20 billion rupees he expects to win from a lawsuit, the television channel said. Banks have a week to respond to his offer. The government estimates he owed 90.9 billion rupees as of Nov. 30.
Sumanto Bhattacharya, a spokesman for Mallya's UB Group, said he couldn't immediately comment. Efforts are under way to reach a one-time settlement with lenders based on additional payments, Mallya said in an e-mailed statement on March 7. Earlier this month, a consortium of 17 lenders, led by government-controlled State Bank of India, found out in court that Mallya had left the country around the time the group sought to bar his exit. Mallya, who took over a liquor business from his father in the 1980s, started Kingfisher Airlines Ltd. in 2005, one of India's leading carriers until it was grounded in 2012 amid mounting debt. In March 2012, he was ranked the 45th-richest Indian with a net worth of $1 billion by Forbes. "In respect of dues of Kingfisher Airlines to the consortium of banks, State Bank of India has received an offer for settlement of dues today which is being examined," the Mumbai-based lender said in an e-mailed statement, without elaborating.