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Committed to Coffee Day’s future, says founder’s widow

25/07/2020 at 5:57 PM

Bengaluru, July 25: Asserting that she was committed to the future of Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd (CDEL), its director and founder V.G. Siddhartha’s widow, Malvika Hegde has said that she will work to bring down its debt to a manageable level by sale of some more investments.

“I am resolutely committed to the future of Coffee Day as a going concern… We think that we can bring that (debt) to a more manageable level with our plans to sell a few more of our investments shortly,” said Hegde in an open letter to the company’s 25,000 employees on Friday.

According to Hegde, the company’s debt has been brought down from Rs 7,200 crore to Rs 3,200 crore.

Hegde said the CDEL board had, on Friday evening, submitted a report on the circumstances which led to her husband’s death to the authorities concerned.

“The report also highlights certain transactions between his publicly listed companies and his private entities. I am fully aware of the requirements… and will fully cooperate with the board and the concerned authorities for a corrective course of action,” she said.

Hegde has also admitted that she is a novice to the industry and her journey started with The Serai resort chain started by her late husband, but reminded the employees that her husband had left the job to her.

“He has left me a job to do, to settle every lender to the best of my ability, to grow the business and to enthuse and foster our employees,” said Hegde.

As the late businessman’s wife, she said that she also has the mission to uphold his legacy and was proud of it, telling she knew him for nearly 32 years.

According to her, great brands and companies like Cafe Coffee Day, Mindtree, Global Village Tech Park, Way2Wealth, Global Edge and The Serai Resorts wouldn’t have happened without Siddhartha.

“Yuva, a fully funded residential course in Chikmaglur which skilled thousands of disadvantaged rural youth to make them employable, may not have happened. The 12,000 acre coffee plantation division put together, the second largest holding in Asia, may not be around,” she pointed out.

Recalling the time of her husband’s suicide in July 2019, she said it was the most tragic circumstance and thanked her family, friends and employees for standing with her.

“At this point, I would like to say thank you to each and every one of you and convey my deepest appreciation for the positivity and the hard work you have put in during these tumultuous times,” said Hegde.

The report of the probe panel, headed by the CBI’s former DIG, Ashok Kumar Malhotra, was released on Friday and gave a virtual clean chit to private equity investors and the Income Tax Department who were named in Siddhartha’s last letter.

It held that Siddhartha may have experienced “aversive behavioural stimulus” due to persistent reminders from the private equity investors and other lenders. (IANS)

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