July 30, 2019 / 4:50 AM / 6 months ago

Shares of Indian coffee chain tank 20% after founder goes missing

BENGALURU, July 30 (Reuters) - Shares of Indian coffee shop chain Coffee Day Enterprises Ltd plunged 20% in early trading on Tuesday, after the founder and largest shareholder in the company went missing under mysterious circumstances on Monday.

Local media reports said VG Siddhartha, the founder of the chain, was on his way to Mangaluru - a port city around 350 kilometers from India's tech hub of Bengaluru. Siddhartha reportedly asked his driver to wait for him on a bridge, and never returned.

Regional television showed search operations underway near Mangaluru, where the industrialist was last seen.

Coffee Day confirmed with the exchanges that Siddhartha has not been reachable since Monday, but did not provide further details.

City police in Bengaluru and Mangaluru declined to comment.

Siddhartha was recently in the news after he sold about 20% of his stake in tech company Mindtree Ltd to engineering and construction company Larsen & Toubro Ltd . He was also in talks with Coca-Cola Co to sell his flagship chain to the snack food and cola giant, according to local media.

A company spokesperson did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment. (Reporting by Nivedita Bhattacharjee in Bengaluru, Editing by Sherry Jacob-Phillips)

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