July 13, 2006

Mallya and airline industry in India

Mallya is on a high..

Kingfisher Airlines is already flying high, with good overall ratings and various marketinggimmicks, new plane orders, ... it is now a fierce competitor for India's top two airlines - Jet Airways & Air Sahara ... I believe Indian Airlines...er now renamed ...just INDIAN... is a distant third..thanks to its non-existent customer service, old planes, etc. (btw, didnt realize till last week that the Jet-Sahara deal (big news in India when I was there in February) fell thruJet & Sahara have more details. Jet continues to do well by itself with excellent customer service being its main selling point. And although having Sahara would have helped it to monopolize the Indian market...so maybe, its best the deal fell thru!)

On the alcohol side, sales are booming in India and ofcourse, as India's largest brewer, UBG is enjoying a great windfall. Unbelievably, it seems that after a recent take-over of rival Shaw-Wallace company, UBG is the world's 2nd largest brewer. (The group also owns the Mendocino Brewing Company in the United States.)

Now Mallya wants to buy Fosters ('Australian for beer') too.. wow!

somewhere along the way - the wiki entries for Mallya bids for Foster's beer units

Continuing its global acquisition drive to become the numero uno liquor player, Vijay Mallya's United Breweries is believed to have made a bid for a part of Australian giant Foster's presumably valued at $234 million.
According to sources, Mallya has bid for Foster's beer units in India and Vietnam, which is estimated to be valued at $234 million. "Mallya has made a bid for the beer units of Foster's in India and Vietnam," sources in the know of the development said.

Btw, I believe Fosters has a plant in India too...as I noticed during the February visit that the price for a Kingfisher and for a Fosters at the Mumbai airport cafetaria were the same but other international brands (don't remember which) were 40-50 rupees more. Oh..there you go..a quick google-search yielded this bit of info - " Foster's India Ltd, the 74:26 liquor joint venture between Foster's Brewing Group, Australia, and the Chennai-based Kothari group"

Kinda related snippet:

(Funny) Comment at Airliners.net:
I am as sceptical about Kingfisher’s 5 x A380 as anyone. At the same time, I do not under-estimate the power of ambition in successful people. If they want to do it - and can raise the money - why not?… if we barred people from starting cheeky airlines, Sir Richard Branson would still be running a gay disco in London.
Other related news that you may or may not be aware about...

In early 2005, India signed off on a plan to upgrade 80 airports throughout the country.

High time..!!! But lets hope it doesn't take as much time as as much corruption as the damn road system we are building..

They better get going on this soon - what with an ever increasing rise in segment of population that flies now .. what with the new low budget planes (in one case that I heard of, someone bought 2 round trip tickets from Bombay to Hyderabad for a sum total of 5000 Rupees, albeit with a 4-6 week advance booking.) With that kind of prices, basic plane flying (minus any luxuries or customer service worth speaking of, of course) will become almost as cheap as trains in India..

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