Goa’s plush Kingfisher Villa, where Vijay Mallya has hosted several glitzy parties in the past, failed to attract a single bidder at an e-auction on Wednesday –marking yet another failed attempt by lenders to recover dues from the embattled businessman.
While repeated attempts have been made without any success for sale of several other assets kept as collaterals by erstwhile Kingfisher Airlines of the Mallya-led UB Group, the famed villa was put under hammer for the first time.
However, the auction turned out to be a damp squib, supposedly due to its high reserve price at Rs 85.3 crore, sources said. The 12,350 sq mt villa was once used by Mallya to host lavish parties in his ‘good times’.
“None of the bidders came forward, so the auction of Kingfisher Villa failed. Higher reserve price could be the reason,” a source said.
The sea-facing palatial villa, situated in Candolim, Goa had earlier attracted interest from at least half a dozen players in the hospitality industry and a media group, when it was opened for inspection to interested bidders during the end of September and early October.
The 17-lender consortium led by State Bank of India took physical possession of the property in May after a long legal battle with United Spirits over tenancy rights.
The villa was owned by United Breweries Holdings and mortgaged by Kingfisher Airlines to the consortium of banks to obtain loans in 2010. It is among many movable and immovable properties under lenders’ possession, which they are trying to auction as part to recover Rs 9,000 crore from Mallya.
In August this year, lenders to the now-defunct airlines and tax authorities had put under hammer various movable and immovable assets of the KFA for a second time, but failed to get any buyers.
The assets which were put on sale included the airline’s erstwhile headquarters, Kingfisher House near Mumbai airport, cars, Mallya’s plush personal jet and numerous brands and trademarks, including the famed ‘Fly with Good Times’.
Most of these assets were put on auction for a second time, and with a lower reserve price. Lenders had reduced the reserve price of Kingfisher House, which has a built-up area of over 17,000 sq ft and is located in the prime suburb of Vile Parle, to Rs 135 crore from Rs 150 crore.
Similarly, the reserve price of the airline’s trademarks, including Kingfisher logo and the tagline ‘Fly the Good Times’, for the last month’s auction was reduced to Rs 330.33 crore from Rs 366.70 crore. All auctions had failed as bidders found the reserve prices too high.
Mallya owes over Rs 9,000 crore to lenders like SBI, PNB, IDBI Bank, BoB, Allahabad Bank, Federal Bank and Axis Bank, among others. He had left the country in March and is currently said to be in Britain, having defied several court orders to return to India.