Vijay Mallya is often seen wearing a slick smile on his face that exudes an aura of charm, extravagance, and superiority. The Kolkata born businessman has been one of the most iconic and successful businessmen India has produced, with his lavish lifestyle attracting more headlines than his business achievements. Mallya has titles like The King of Good Times and The Playboy of East to his name owing to his grandiloquent habits. Although these are troubled times for The King of Good Times, there is no denying that he has been a real success tycoon.
How Mallya became Mallya!
Vijay Mallya was born in 1955 to Vittal Mallya, then Chairman of the United Breweries Group. He took the mantle from his father upon his death in 1983. Since then, Vijay Mallya has lived his life in the fifth gear. He expanded the group to make it a conglomerate of over 60 companies in his first fifteen years in charge. By 1998-99, UB Group’s turnover has grown by 64% to amount to US$11 billion. This feat was achieved by striking off the few non-profitable ventures from the umbrella corporation and focussing on the money churning businesses. The flagship company of UB Group, UB Spirits Ltd, is something everyone associates Vijay Mallya with. The fact that the company’s premier beer Kingfisher has more than 50% of the market share in India’s beer market and is available in 52 other countries as one of the top Indian beers is all that is needed to understand the popularity of the liquor under Vijay Mallya’s name.
Vijay Mallya, though, is not only about alcoholic beverages. He is known to be a master businessmen and one who has an eye for a profitable venture. He has invested in and owns many successful businesses like Berger Paints, The Asian Age newspaper. He is also the co-owner of IPL team Royal Challengers Bangalore and Formula 1 team Sahara Force India. Kingfisher Airlines, which started as a business venture in 2005, also enjoyed success for a few years before being shut down in 2012.
Good times do end!
It can be said that with the decline of Kingfisher Airlines, the stars started to turn on and diminish in front of Vijay Mallya. The businessman faced heavy criticism around the time of Kingfisher Airlines’ shutdown. However, that was nothing compared to the liquor king’s current predicament. Vijay Mallya owes many Indian banks a total sum of Rs. 9000 crores in loans. Following pressure from the banks to pay up, Mallya left India on March 2. Reports have surfaced which claim that Mallya has invested over Rs. 900 crore in offshore properties. He already owns numerous properties in USA, South Africa, UK and France. Although Mallya has claimed that he is not on the run and would abide by law and has also offered to give a statement via email or video conference, his presence has been deemed necessary in the investigation against him. The Supreme Court of India has asked him to disclose all his assets in India and abroad before April 21. The group of banks to whom Mallya collectively owes Rs. 9000 crores have also demanded that he be present during the next hearing of the case in Supreme Court on April 26. Consequently Vijay Mallya’s Passport has been suspended by the Ministry of External affairs.
There has always been some controversy surrounding Vijaya Mallya’s name, with many people not approving of his profligate lifestyle. However, recent circumstances have provided those people with added firepower, for Mallya really is in too deep over his head with this one. It is left to see now if The King of Good Times can turn things around in his favor yet again.