Shares of Adani Enterprises plunged on Friday as a scathing report by a US-based short seller triggered a massive selloff in the conglomerate’s listed firms, casting doubts on the company’s record $2.45 billion secondary offering, reported news agency Reuters.
The selloff in Adani’s corporate empire accelerated on Friday, erasing more than $50 billion of market value in less than two sessions as Asia’s richest man struggles to contain the fallout, reported news agency Bloomberg.
Adani Group’s share prices of its seven listed companies nosedived last week, after Hindenburg Research stated that it assumed a short position, in particular securities of the conglomerate. In response, Adani Group dismissed the allegations as ‘baseless’, termed the report as ‘malicious combination of selective misinformation and stale,’ and is contemplating legal action against the American investor.
“If Adani is serious, it should also file suit in the U.S. where we operate. We have a long list of documents we would demand in a legal discovery process,” Hindenburg said while also asserting that it fully stands by its findings.
As per reports, Hindenburg Research said that the company hasn’t addressed a single substantive issue raised in the 32,000-word report. “At the conclusion of our report, we asked 88 straightforward questions that we believe give the company a chance to be transparent. Thus far, Adani has answered none of these questions,” the short seller has reportedly said.
The report alleges that the Indian group, headed by Asia’s richest man, Gautam Adani, had engaged in brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud. It contains details of the Adani family’s alleged shell companies in tax havens across Mauritius, the United Arab Emirates, and the Caribbean, established for facilitating money laundering and tax evasion through siphoning money from the group’s listed entities.
Following the accusations, Adani Transmission shares crashed above 19 percent and Adani Gas tumbled 19.1 percent in their biggest downward trajectory since March 2020, while Adani Green Energy depreciated around 16 percent on the BSE during today’s early trading session. The share prices of Ambuja Cements, NDTV, and ACC, the Indian conglomerate’s recent acquisitions, also declined 7.71 percent, 4.98 percent, and 7.26 percent respectively, on Wednesday, according to reports.
The Adani Group announced on Jan 26, 2023, that it is considering taking legal action against Hindenburg Research for a report from January 23, 2023, that accused the Indian conglomerate of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme.”
Jatin Jalundhwala, legal head for Adani Group, said, “The maliciously mischievous, unresearched report published by Hindenburg Research on 24 Jan 2023 has adversely affected the Adani Group, our shareholders and investors.”
The report was released ahead of the Rs 20,000 crore follow-on public offer (FPO) by Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the Adani Group. The FPO had raised Rs 5,984.9 crore from 33 anchor investors on Wednesday.
A foreign brokerage house has said that Indian banks have an exposure of Rs 81,200 crore to Adani Group, whose group debt is Rs 2 lakh crore (about $24 billion), according to media reports.
Analysts said the listed Adani firms lost more than Rs 3 lakh crore in market capitalisation on Friday and more than Rs 4.10 lakh crore since Wednesday.
The three companies recently acquired by the Adani group — Ambuja Cement, ACC and NDTV — also wilted. The tycoon has seen over $7 billion of his personal wealth wiped out since the start of the year, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index which has yet to factor in last week’s meltdown.