Gautam Adani was the world’s fourth-wealthiest man less than two weeks ago. It was reported that the Indian industrialist’s personal worth was $120 billion, making him richer than both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet.
Then, a U.S. short seller named Hindenburg Research that had made wagers against Adani’s enterprises said that he had perpetrated “the greatest scam in corporate history.”
Since then, Adani’s enterprises have lost $110 billion in value, and his personal wealth has been cut in half to slightly more than $61 billion as investors withdrew their support.
The Adani Group has called the research “baseless” and “malicious,” but investors are still wary because of the assertions it makes. In response to the outcry from opposition MPs, Adani’s business partners and financiers are clarifying their ties to the conglomerate, and the Indian federal government is apparently initiating a probe into his firm.
Gautam Adani – The Ex-Richest Man In The World
Business magnate Gautam Adani, now 60 years old, started the Adani Group almost three decades ago.
He didn’t finish college, yet he nonetheless managed to amass a massive economic empire that includes transportation, storage, power generation, and mineral extraction. His prosperity has drawn analogies to those of other Gilded Age tycoons like John D. Rockefeller and Cornelius Vanderbilt.
He was the wealthiest person in Asia and, for a short time in September of last year, he eclipsed Jeff Bezos to become the second-richest person in the world. He is also thought of as a close associate of Narendra Modi, the prime minister of India.
Why Is He Being Accused?
After publishing a research accusing Adani and his firms of decades-long fraud and “brazen stock manipulation,” Hindenburg Research shocked investors in late January. The company announced that it had established a short position in Adani Group companies, meaning it stands to gain from a decline in the value of these businesses.
88 questions were posed by Hindenburg to Adani, all of which were intended to throw doubt on the financial stability of Adani’s conglomerate.
The questions asked varied widely, from those curious about the organization’s offshore firms to those wondering what the point of the organization’s “complicated, interwoven corporate structure” is.
In response to these allegations, the Adani Group has stated that it is considering taking legal action. It said Hindenburg is engaging in “a premeditated attack on India” and that the investment group is only looking out for its own bottom line. However, experts say Adani Group hasn’t provided satisfactory responses to the report’s concerns.
The Investors Are Scared
Investors are fleeing the market in fear of being on the wrong side of a deal after hearing the reports. Since Hindenburg’s analysis came out on January 24th, shares of Adani Enterprises, Adani’s flagship company, have fallen by over 55%.
Because of this, the company is having trouble getting additional capital. After only 24 hours, on Wednesday, Adani Enterprises abruptly backed out of a $2.5 billion share sale agreement.
The majority of Adani Group stocks fell again on Friday. When shares of five Adani companies fell by more than the daily restrictions of 5% and 10%, the Indian stock markets suspended trade in those companies.
In the meantime, TotalEnergies, a significant business partner, said that Adani has agreed to let one of the “big four” accounting firms to conduct a “general audit.” Adani has not provided any official word.
The French energy behemoth claimed it has “minimal” exposure to Adani, despite having invested $3.1 billion in joint ventures in India. Partnerships were “undertaken in full conformity with applicable — specifically Indian — legislation,” the document added.
So, What Follows?
Concerns have been raised about the viability of Adani’s businesses in light of the recent flurry of sales.
Concerns identified by Hindenburg include Adani companies’ high debt loads, which are being being investigated. On Friday, Moody’s Investors Service warned that the turbulence has dampened the organization’s capital-raising prospects.
Adani issued a statement on Wednesday night reassuring investors that his company is doing well and promising that, “after the market stabilises,” officials would evaluate the company’s approach to the capital markets.
He reassured the audience that the company had a “very robust balance sheet” with “strong cashflows and secure assets” and “an outstanding track record of servicing its debt.”
Adani may not be the only company affected by the sell-off. If the value of Adani Group assets held by Indian banks continues to fall, those banks could be impacted as well.
On Friday, the Reserve Bank of India said that the banking sector “remains resilient and stable” based on its most recent evaluation, adding that it would continue to keep an eye on things.
The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) released its first comment regarding the recent market upheaval on Saturday, citing “unusual price movement in the equities of a business conglomerate” as the cause. It stated that “proper action” would be taken if any information was brought to SEBI’s attention.
The market watchdog also said it “is dedicated to protecting market integrity.”