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VG Siddhartha: From Plantation Owner's Son to Coffee King of India, Tracing the Tycoon's Journey

VG Siddhartha: From Plantation Owner's Son to Coffee King of India, Tracing the Tycoon's Journey

It was in 1992 that VG Siddhartha started his coffee business Amalgamated Bean Company Trading (now called Coffee Day Global), an integrated coffee business.

New Delhi: VG Siddhartha, son of a coffee plantation owner, was born in Karnataka’s Chikkamagaluru and started his career as a management trainee trading in Indian stock market at JM Financial under the tutelage of Mahendra Kampani in 1983, after completing his masters’ degree in Mangalore University.

He later bought Sivan Securities in 1984 and turned it into a highly successful investment banking and stock broking company. It was renamed Way2Wealth Securities in 2000.

It was only in 1992 that Siddhartha started his coffee business Amalgamated Bean Company Trading (now called Coffee Day Global), an integrated coffee business which ranges from procuring, processing and roasting coffee beans to retailing of coffee products. The company’s revenue stands at Rs 2,016 crore for FY18.

After the success of the coffee venture, Siddhartha launched India’s first coffee café — Café Coffee Day — on Brigade Road, Bengaluru in 1996. Internationally, CCD outlets are present in Vienna, Czech Republic, Malaysia, Nepal and Egypt.

Mindtree journey

In 1999, IT veteran Ashok Soota roped in Siddhartha when the 10 founders, including Subroto Bagchi, Rostow Ravanan and KK Natarajan, were putting together Mindtree.

According to a CNBC-TV18 report, Siddhartha has invested Rs 340 crore for stakes in Mindtree since 1999, and by selling his 20.4 percent stake to L&T, he has taken home a massive profit of nearly Rs 3,000 crore after 20 years.

Siddhartha’s background as an investment banker probably came in handy when he pitched in time and again when Mindtree needed him.

Siddhartha invested close to Rs 44 crore to buy a 6.6 per cent stake in Mindtree that was just starting up in 1999. In 2011, he picked up another 5.57 percent and 2.05 percent stakes for Rs 85 crore and Rs 40 crore, respectively. Later in 2012, he invested Rs 171 crore to buy an additional 6.84 percent stake in Mindtree. This translates roughly into an internal rate of return of 20.43 percent per annum.

Apart from the coffee business, the Coffee Day group acquired SICAL Logistics, Tanglin Developments (which has Global Village tech park) and Coffee Day Hotels & Resorts.

With 1,752 cafes across India as of March 2019, Café Coffee Day clocked a revenue of Rs 1,777 crore and Rs 1,814 crore in FY 2018 and 2019 respectively and is eyeing Rs 2,250 crore by March 2020.

Siddhartha, who has a Master’s degree from Mangalore University, is the son-in-law of former Karnataka chief minister and BJP leader SM Krishna. He is married to Krishna’s first daughter and has two children.

The businessman is passionate about creating jobs for Indians who are less well-off and do not have engineering degrees or MBAs. He is known to take long walks at his coffee plantations to relax.

Siddhartha found himself in trouble in 2017 when the Income Tax department conducted raids at over 20 locations linked to him.

The Coffee King of India went missing on Monday evening when he got off from his car near a bridge across the Nethravathi River near Mangalore, about 375km from Bengaluru, but did not return even after an hour. A panicked driver went down looking for him, but could not find him anywhere. He then alerted the family members who in turn informed the police.

The Dakshina Kannada police have launched a massive search for him. According to his driver, Siddhartha, known as the Coffee King of India, was talking to someone on his mobile phone when he got off from the car near Kotekar.

The news of Siddhartha's disappearance has spread like wildfire across Karnataka and hundreds of his relatives and friends have gathered at his father-in-law and former Karnataka CM SM Krishna's house in Bengaluru.

With inputs from Swathi Moorthy.