The assessment of the Adani Group by Hindenburg Research, which was released on 24 January 2023, is a thorough reflection of the operational and financial practices employed by the Indian conglomerate. This assessment has sparked a heated debate about the business practices of the Adani group. The Adani Group has been charged with running a “stock manipulation and accounting fraud operation” for “decades,” according to investment research firm Hindenburg Research. The US-based company claimed that shell businesses and finances linked to the Adani family’s private offshore trusts and companies indirectly own a portion of the shares in listed companies affiliated with the Adani Group. The shares of listed companies owned by the billionaire have seen significant declines in value as a result of the report.
Diving deep into Adani Group and Hindenburg
Adani, one of India’s major business groups, specializes in infrastructure projects involving coal, ports, cement, renewable energy, and even edible oil. With revenues of over $11 billion in the fiscal year 2021, the company is a major player in the Indian business world. For some time now, Mr Gautam Adani owner of Adani Group has ranked among the top four richest people in the world. The company was in news recently due to its expansion in the cement and news industry (Ambuja, ACC, and NDTV). The major listed companies of the Adani group are Adani Enterprises, Adani Green Energy, Adani Power, Adani Ports and SEZ Adani Transmission, Adani Total Gas, and Adani Wilmar. The company has also proposed wind power plant and hydroelectricity projects in Sri Lanka and Nepal respectively.
A US-based research team named Hindenburg Research provides forensic financial research services with an emphasis on equities, credit, and derivatives analysis. Their primary investigation frequently involves examining and documenting businesses with questionable accounting procedures, unethical dealings with linked parties, poor management, etc. Typically, they produce research on western businesses like SC Worx, Nikola, and Genius Brands. On 24th January 2023, they released a report on the Adani Group, saying that the latter was performing the “biggest fraud in corporate history”. Also, they disclosed that they have a short position in the Adani equities, demonstrating their conviction that the shares are expensive and will shortly decline in value.
Adani Group: How The World’s 3rd Richest Man Is Pulling The Largest Con In Corporate History
In the report, Hindenburg accused Adani Group of a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.” Adani’s net worth reportedly fell by $6 billion overnight as a result of this 100-page analysis, and it has since continued to decline. The key allegation cites that the Adani group shares are overpriced compared to conventional metrics. For example, Adani Enterprises is 42 times the industry average. Secondly, out of the seven significant publicly traded corporations mentioned, five have reported current ratios under one. This shows that the total current assets of these companies are less than the total current liabilities. Because of the likelihood that the businesses won’t have enough assets to cover their liabilities in the near future, this is a bad financial plan. Thirdly, the promoters have added to their debt because they own shares in the company. It is said that because both the share price and the debt are already high, it would be a poor financial decision for the promoters to pledge shares in order to take on further debt. Finally, it has been alleged that considerable percentages of the remaining public shares are also under the control of shell firms with ties to the Adani group, in addition to the already high promoter stake in shareholding. Due in large part to people’s fear of retaliation, including investors, journalists, citizens, and even politicians, Adani Group has been able to carry out a significant, brazen scam in the open. The research revealed that Vinod Adani, Gautam Adani’s older brother, ran 38 offshore shell companies in Mauritius with his accomplices, in addition to companies in Cyprus, the UAE, Singapore, and various Caribbean Islands under the Greek administration.
Implication and Response of Adani Group on this Report
The ripple effects of the Hindenburg report prompted Adani Enterprises to cancel a 20,000 crore FPO. Stocks of Adani Enterprises fell sharply by 28.45%. The company lost a total of $91.7 billion in value since the report was published. This means around 40 percent of the empire’s shares were wiped off in just over a week. Adani has now fallen to the 27th spot on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, where he ranked third just a month ago. “This is not only an unwarranted attack on any specific firm but a planned attack on India, the independence, integrity, and quality of Indian institutions, as well as the growth story and aspiration of India,” the Adani Group claimed in a 413-page statement, adding to this the group said it is quite worrying that the claims of a remote organization with no integrity or ethics have had a severe and unheard-of negative impact on our investors. The group also said that the research firm is an “unethical” short seller, and it released the paper in an effort to manipulate, depress, and create a phoney market for the stock price. Although the Group denied Hindenburg’s accusations of stock manipulation and inappropriate use of tax havens, investors and shareholders who are concerned about the company’s ability to restructure debt and maintain growth momentum are still unsatisfied.
The Adani Group’s financial and operational operations, as well as the company’s effects on the environment, are seriously questioned by the Hindenburg investigation. Notwithstanding the fact that Adani Group has vehemently refuted the accusations, investors and authorities must take these worries seriously and conduct a careful inquiry into the report’s assertions. The question of the veracity of the surge is raised by both the stories and Adani’s unexpected rise. The increase of 2500% in just 5 years is cause for reflection. What is the cause of the overvaluation of Adani’s stocks? What about the associated shell companies in tax heavens? A lot of questions remain unanswered. The study’s release serves as a reminder of how important it is to make sure that firms operate ethically and sustainably as well as how important it is to increase transparency and accountability in the business world. Adani should answer the questions put forward by the research firm and stop denying the allegations under the cloak of nationalism because nationalism cannot be taken as a defence for such shady dealings.
Author(s) Name: Aditya Jain (Symbiosis Law School, Pune)
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