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V. G. Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day Ltd, holds a fifth of the equity in Mindtree Ltd. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint
V. G. Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day Ltd, holds a fifth of the equity in Mindtree Ltd. Photo: Priyanka Parashar/Mint

Mindtree investor V.G. Siddhartha sees firm doubling revenue by 2023

The founders and promoters of Mindtree do not intend to sell their stakes, says chairman K.Natarajan

Bengaluru: V. G. Siddhartha, the founder of Café Coffee Day Ltd who holds a fifth of the equity in Mindtree Ltd, said he remains committed to the information technology (IT) outsourcing company, which according to him is expected to more than double its revenue to $2 billion by 2023.

Significantly, the founders and promoters of Bengaluru-based Mindtree do not intend to sell, and according to executive chairman Krishnakumar Natarajan, the company has invested significantly to make itself future-ready.

Siddhartha, who joined the board when he first invested in Mindtree in 1999, stepped down as an independent director in March, a development which triggered speculation that he may cash out on his investments and re-deploy the cash to scale up operations of Café Coffee Day.

“I remain committed (to Mindtree)," Siddhartha said in an interview. “I believe in the management team and I believe in 5 years’ time, the company will be a $2 billion firm" Mindtree reported an 8.6% dollar revenue growth to $846.8 million for the year ended March 2018.

“Over the last few years, I’ve been thinking about this (Stepping down from the board). 12-13 days (in a year) is too much time which I have to devote to board-related matters. So I decided to step down. But I can say that I don’t have to be on the board. I’ve worked with KK (Krishnakumar Natarajan, executive chairman), Rostow (Rostow Ravanan, CEO and managing director) and Partha (N.S. Parthasarathy, executive vice-chairman and chief operating officer) at the board for 19 years now and I share an excellent relationship," said Siddhartha.

Siddhartha holds 3.34% equity in Mindtree, a 10.65% stake through Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd and 6.46% through Coffee Day Trading Ltd, thereby bringing his total ownership to 20.45%.

Siddhartha did not directly answer a query on whether he intends to partially sell some of his shares in Mindtree but said: “Please remember that since I first invested in 1999 and later, when I bought more shares in 2011, I have got a 33-34% return on capital. In today’s world, some of the best investments will get you an 18-19% return."

Krishnakumar Natarajan, executive chairman, also assuaged any concerns by stating that the founders of the company do not have any intent to sell the company and have full faith in Siddhartha.

The promoters hold a 13.37% stake in Mindtree.

“We have consistently delivered value to the shareholders and there is not the slightest chance of the promoters looking to sell. There is excitement among the team and we know we can aspire to be among the world’s best in the coming years," Natarajan said in a separate interview last week.

Mindtree gave Rs473 crore to shareholders through dividends and share buybacks last year, a 134% increase from Rs202 crore returned to investors in 2016-17.

“He (VG Siddhartha) has been wanting to move out of the Board right from the time Cafe Coffee Day got listed. Now, looking at the shareholder pattern, one views it as 13.37% with Promoters and 20% of Siddhartha. I must say effectively, you should see that 33.8% as one because Siddhartha won’t do anything that even marginally puts Mindtree at risk. That we are very, very comfortable with," said Natarajan.

“We have invested significantly in the right building blocks. In fact, in many of the digital deals, we find ourselves competing with the larger companies, including Accenture. So we may be competing with Accenture in say six out of the ten deals, and we win our share of business," said Natarajan.

Mindtree claims that 43.5% or $368.36 million of its business is digital, a fuzzy umbrella term companies use to classify revenue generated from areas generally classified as social, mobile, analytics, cloud computing and Internet of Things.

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