Adani group loses $48 billion since January 25; FPO takes a hit in light of Hindenburg report

January 27, 2023 07:53 pm | Updated 07:53 pm IST

Adani Enterprises Ltd began a record $2.45 billion (₹20,000 crore) secondary share sale for retail investors on Friday, as a heavy selloff in Adani group companies intensified after an attack by a U.S.-based short seller.

Seven listed companies of the Adani conglomerate — controlled by one of the world’s richest men Gautam Adani — have lost a combined $48 billion in market capitalisation since Wednesday and saw falls in its U.S. bonds after Hindenburg Research flagged concerns in a report about debt levels and the use of tax havens.

Adani Group has dismissed the report as baseless.

Adani Enterprises aims to use the share sale proceeds for capital expenditure and to pay debt. The anchor portion of the sale saw participation from investors including the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority on Wednesday.

Bidding for the Adani Enterprises share sale for retail investors started on Friday and will close on January 31. The firm has set a floor price of ₹3,112 ($38.22) a share and a cap of ₹3,276. But on Friday the stock slumped to as low as ₹2,721.65, well below the lower end of the price offering.

Adani group stocks took a beating, falling up to 20% after Hindenburg Research’s damaging allegations. The group’s flagship Adani Enterprises, which launched the ₹20,000 crore FPO on Friday, tanked 18.52%. Adani Ports plunged 16%, Adani Power by 5%, Adani Green Energy by 19.99%, and Adani Total Gas by 20%.

In two days, the Adani group firms have lost a whopping ₹4,17,824.79 crore from their market valuation. The market valuation of Adani Total Gas plummeted ₹1,04,580.93 crore while that of Adani Transmission by ₹83,265.95 crore. Adani Enterprises market capitalisation fell by ₹77,588.47 crore, Adani Green Energy lost ₹67,962.91 crore and Adani Ports by ₹35,048.25 crore.

The market valuation of Ambuja Cements declined by ₹23,311.47 crore, Adani Power by ₹10,317.31 crore, ACC by ₹8,490.8 crore and Adani Wilmar by ₹7,258.7 crore. The rout took shares of Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship company, well below the offer price of its secondary sale, which had initially been offered at a discount.

In its report, Hindenburg said key listed Adani Group companies had “substantial debt”, putting the conglomerate on a “precarious financial footing”, and that “sky-high valuations” had pushed the share prices of seven listed Adani companies as much as 85% beyond actual value.

Billionaire U.S. investor Bill Ackman said on Thursday that he found the Hindenburg report “highly credible and extremely well researched”.

Hindenburg said it held short positions in Adani through its U.S.-traded bonds and non-Indian-traded derivative instruments, meaning it is betting that their price would fall.

Congress demands ‘serious investigation’ by RBI and SEBI into allegations levelled against the Adani Group 

In a strongly worded statement, Congress general secretary in-charge of communication Jairam Ramesh asserted that exposure of financial institutions like the Life Insurance Company of India (LIC) and the State Bank of India (SBI) to the Adani Group would have implications for the country’s financial stability and crores of depositors “whose savings are stewarded by these pillars of the financial system”.

“Normally a political party should not be reacting to a research report on an individual company or business group prepared by a hedge fund. But the forensic analysis by Hindenburg Research of the Adani Group demands a response from the Congress party,” Ramesh said, adding, ”This is because the Adani Group is no ordinary conglomerate: it is closely identified with Prime Minister Narendra Modi since the time he was Chief Minister”.

The ports-to-power conglomerate, however, had said the charge against the Adani Group was “malicious, unsubstantiated, one-sided, and was timed to ruin the public listing of its shares”.

“The allegations require serious investigation by those who are responsible for the stability and security of the Indian financial system, viz. the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) and the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI),” Ramesh said.

“The allegations of financial malfeasance would be bad enough, but what is worse is that the Modi government may have exposed India’s financial system to systemic risks through the liberal investments in the Adani Group made by strategic state entities like LIC, SBI and other public sector banks,” he added.

The Congress leader said as much as 8% of LIC’s equity assets under management, amounting to a sum of ₹74,000 crore, are invested in the Adani Group of companies, while public sector banks have lent to the Adani Group twice as much as the private banks, with 40% lending being done by SBI.

“Indians are increasingly aware of how the rise of Modi’s cronies has exacerbated the problem of inequality, but need to understand how this has been financed by their own hard-earned savings. Will the RBI ensure that risks to financial stability are investigated and contained? Are these not clear-cut cases of “phone banking”?” asked Ramesh.

Asking if there is a quid pro quo between the Modi government and the Adani Group, the Congress leader alleged, “In perhaps, the most egregious case of crony capitalism, the previous operator of Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport, India’s second busiest airport, was raided by the Enforcement Directorate (ED) and the Central Board of Investigation (CBI) after it rejected an offer by the Adani Group”.

“The operator agreed to sell the airport to Adani a month later and it is a mystery what happened to the ED and CBI cases thereafter,” Ramesh added.

Lok Sabha member Manish Tewari said on Twitter that if the Hindenburg report was even partially correct, “it merits both a Joint Parliamentary Committee-much like the 1992 JPC & a Supreme Court Monitored investigation to get to the bottom of the matter. The Budget Session of Parliament begins 31st Jan 2023”.

Congress Rajya Sabha member Randeep Surjewala tweeted, ”Exposure of #LIC in Adani Group is ₹77,000 CR. LIC has today lost ₹23,500 CR in invest value in Adani Group i.e at ₹53,000 CR against ₹77,000 CR. LIC is money of People of India. In any other country, heads would have rolled including that of FM# HindenburgReport.”

India notifies Pakistan on ‘modification’ of Indus Waters Treaty 

In a significant development, India has cited Pakistan’s persistent objections regarding Kishenganga and Ratle hydropower projects in Kashmir and issued a notice to Islamabad announcing “modification” of the 63-year-old Indus Waters Treaty (IWT). The notice was sent to Pakistan, through Commissioners for Indus Waters on January 25, sources have told The Hindu.

It was argued that a dispute in the IWT has been brewing since 2015 when Pakistan asked for the appointment of a “Neutral Expert” to probe its “technical objections” to India’s Kishenganga and Ratle Hydro Electricity Projects. In 2016, Pakistan changed that request and proposed that a Court of Arbitration should examine the objections. In response, India sought the appointment of a Neutral Expert. Sources said that the two processes would be contradictory and be “legally untenable”.

The Indian side has alleged that by unilaterally changing the request from seeking a “Neutral Expert” to a “Court of Arbitration”, Pakistan has violated the Indus Waters Treaty which has been further complicated by the World Bank recently moving to act on both Neutral Expert and Court of Arbitration. “Such parallel considerations on the same issues is not covered under any provision of IWT,” said the source. “Faced with such violation of IWT provisions, India has been compelled to issue notice of modification,” The Hindu was told.

The objective of the notice for modification is to provide Pakistan an opportunity to initiate “intergovernmental negotiations” within 90 days regarding the differences that the Indian side has described as a “material breach”. “This process would also update IWT to incorporate the lessons learned over the last 62 years,” said the source.

The Indus Waters Treaty was signed in 1960 between India and Pakistan and is often cited as one of the most successful international treaties in South Asia which has endured wars and tension between India and Pakistan. The treaty lays down terms of distribution of the waters of the Indus and its tributaries that support agriculture and other economic activities of both north India and Pakistan.

Bharat Jodo Yatra | Rahul Gandhi travels by car over security reasons

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, whose Bharat Jodo Yatra arrived in the Kashmir valley on Friday morning, has decided to travel by car to the next scheduled stop rather than on foot because of security concerns. He was joined by former J&K Chief Minister Omar Abdullah as he set out on Friday morning.

The Congress, in a tweet, said the J&K UT administration failed to provide security to Bharat Jodo Yatra led by Rahul Gandhi. “Security lapses indicate unfair and unprepared attitude of UT administration,” Rajani Patil, Congress in charge J&K and Ladakh, said.

Earlier in the day, the Gandhi scion, wearing his yatra’s signature white T-shirt, resumed his walk in sub-zero temperatures in Banihal, where hundreds of Congress supporters and locals were seen dancing and beating drums.

Later, Gandhi arrived at Qazigund, the gateway of the Kashmir valley, from the Navyug Tunnel where Abdullah, also seen sporting a white T-shirt, joined him for a walk. M.K. Raina, a well-known actor and theatre director, also joined Gandhi in Qazigund.

Gandhi was scheduled to move ahead on foot on the highway in south Kashmir, which has been a hub of militants for many years now. However, after senior police officials briefed him, the Congress leader decided to drive in a car towards Khanabal, the next stop where he is staying for the night before heading for Srinagar on January 28.

J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha and top security officials, including J&K DGP Dilbag Singh, had assured full security to the yatra. In fact, L-G Sinha had said all security arrangements were in place for Gandhi’s yatra.

Meanwhile, Abdullah, also vice president of the National Conference, said the Bharat Jodo Yatra was not aimed at improving the image of Gandhi but for improving the situation in the country. “We have not joined this for the image of an individual but for the image of the county,” he said.

Targeting the BJP, Abdullah said this government might be making friends with Arab countries but the fact remains that there is no representative in this government from the largest minority of the country.

“For the first time since Independence, the ruling party does not have a single member of Parliament from the Muslim community,” he added. He also highlighted that J&K has not seen assembly elections for the past eight years now. “This has been the longest period between the two elections in J&K. It was not the case even at the peak of militancy,” he said.

BBC documentary on PM Modi screened at Hyderabad University again, ABVP counters it by screening ‘Kashmir Files’

In an attempt to counter Students Federation of India’s (SFI) screening of the controversial BBC documentary on the 2002 Gujarat riots at the University of Hyderabad , RSS’ student wing ABVP on Thursday organised a screening of ‘The Kashmir Files’ on the campus.

“The screening of the documentary ‘India: The Modi Question’ at the varsity on the occasion of Republic Day was successful, with over 400 students turning up to see the controversial two-part series produced by the BBC,” the SFI said.

According to media reports, ABVP had announced the screening of ‘The Kashmir Files’ at the same venue, North Shopcom, to counter SFI’s move but the SFI later shifted its venue to North LH to avoid confrontation.

UoH Registrar Devesh Nigam in a statement said the Dean-Students’ Welfare had counselled the students group and issued an appeal not to do any screening of the films in view of the law and order issue, and forthcoming end semester exams starting from next week. However, the students decided to go ahead with their programme schedule.

Although the registrar claimed there was no untoward incident during the screenings, a group of ABVP members alleged that the security personnel did not allow them to enter the varsity premises along with the screening equipment. The University Administration tried to stop the screening of the movie ‘The Kashmir Files’. When ABVP Karyakartas were bringing the projector from the main gate, University Security manhandled our Karyakartas. There was another attempt by the administration to seize our projector. We protested at the main gate and we have arranged everything for the screening. We appeal to the student community to join us in large numbers at Ambedkar Chowk (North ShopCom),” a social media post by the ABVP HCU said.

For the second time in a week, the BBC documentary on PM Modi was screened at the University even as the administration said it had not granted permission for it.

The Fraternity Movement in UoH campus, a students’ group, had earlier organised the screening on January 21 at the varsity campus without prior notice or permission, prompting the University authorities to seek a report on the incident for taking necessary action.

Last week, the Central Government had directed social platforms Twitter and Youtube to block links to the BBC documentary, which claims it investigated certain aspects relating to the 2002 Gujarat riots when PM Modi was the chief minister of the State.

Student bodies and youth wings of Opposition parties, defying the government directive announced their intention to hold screenings of the documentary at college campuses in various States.

Upset over delay, passenger falsely tweets flight hijacked; arrested

A man was arrested for allegedly falsely tweeting that a flight going from Dubai to Jaipur had been hijacked, police said on Thursday. The incident took place on Wednesday.

Moti Singh Rathore, a resident of Nagaur in Rajasthan, arrived at the Indira Gandhi InternationalAirport after a Dubai-Jaipur was diverted to Delhi due to bad weather, Deputy Commissioner of Police (airport) Ravi Kumar Singh said. The flight landed at 9:45 a.m. and was given clearance to depart at 1:40 p.m. Meanwhile, Rathore tweeted “flight highjack”, the police said.

Rathore was offloaded from the flight with his bag and the flight was allowed to leave after the necessary checks. He was handed over to the local police for further action, they said. The accused told police that he posted the tweet as he was frustrated over the flight being stranded, they added. A case was registered in the matter and Rathore was arrested, the police said.

In Brief:

A Delhi court on January 27 adjourned Shankar Mishra’s petition seeking bail to January 30. Mishra, who is accused of urinating on a woman co-passenger onboard a flight in November last year had filed a fresh bail application seeking regular bail. The court adjourned the matter after noting the investigating officer was not present. Further, the complainant’s counsel was not provided a copy of the bail plea, it noted. The incident took place onboard the Air India flight from New York to Delhi on November 26, 2022. Mishra was allegedly in an inebriated condition.

Evening Wrap will return tomorrow.

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