Mallya loses billionaire tag; net worth down to $800 mn

vijay mallyaNEW YORK: Liquor baron Vijay Mallya, often referred to as ‘King of good times’, has lost his billionaire tag as “bad times” in his aviation business have dragged down his net worth to below the USD 1 billion mark.

According to Forbes magazine’s India rich list released on Thursday, Mallya is now ranked 73rd with a fortune of USD 800 million (about Rs 4,285 crore), a sharp plunge from 49th place last year with a fortune of USD 1.1 billion.

However, Mallya ranks well above Naresh Goyal of Jet Airways, who has been ranked by Forbes at 94th position with a fortune of USD 600 million.

“King of good times is having nothing but bad times lately. His (Mallya’s) Kingfisher Airlines, weighed down by what is believed to be USD 2 billion in debt, had its license suspended in mid-October after it apparently failed to address Indian regulator’s concerns about its ability to operate,” the magazine said.

Moreover, the airline hasn’t paid staff in seven months and now is offering three months salary but staff wants more and has asked to hear from Mallya directly.

“…the tycoon, who has pledged a chunk of his shares, is believed to be trying to sell his stake in his liquor company, United Spirits, to Diageo to help pay off the airline’s debts.

He has already sold part of his stake in his Formula One team. He owns a cricket team and millions worth of Gandhi memorabilia, Forbes said.

The magazine said the net worth is based on shareholding and financial information from the families and individuals, stock exchanges, analysts and India’s regulatory agencies.

The fortune is calculated on the basis of stock prices and exchange rates information available as of October 12, it added. -PTI

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