Most Adani Group shares fell sharply on Monday as the Indian conglomerate’s rebuttal of a US short-seller’s criticism failed to pacify investors, deepening a market rout that has now led to losses of $65 billion in the group’s stock values.
Led by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, the Indian group has locked horns with Hindenburg Research and on Sunday hit back at the short-seller’s report of last week that flagged concerns about its debt levels and the use of tax havens.
Adani said it complied with all local laws and had made the necessary regulatory disclosures.
Adani Transmission, Adani Total Gas, Adani Green Energy, Adani Power and Adani Wilmar fell between 5% and 20% on Monday.
Flagship Adani Enterprises, which is facing a crucial test this week with a follow-on share offering, swung between gains and losses before settling 4.8% higher. It stayed well below the offer price of the issue, which if successful will be largest such share offering ever in India.
Adani Enterprises’ $2.5 billion secondary share sale closed its second day amid weak investor sentiment. The stock closed at INR2,892.85, 7% below the INR3,112 lower end of the offer price band. The upper band is INR3,276.
Data from stock exchanges on Monday showed Adani has now received bids for 1.4 million shares, or just over 3%, of the 45.5 million shares on offer. The deal closes on Tuesday.
Foreign and domestic institutional investors, as well as mutual funds, have made no bids so far, according to the data. “Retail participation is likely to have a shortfall with current market prices still trailing the offer price and sentiment taking a hit due to the Hindenburg controversy,” said Hemang Jani, equity strategist at Motilal Oswal Financial Services.
“While there is a risk that the share sale does not go through, it will be crucial today to wait and see how institutional investors participate.”
Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Holding Company said on Monday it would invest 1.4 billion dirhams ($381.17 million) in the offering.
Adani Group told Reuters in a statement on Saturday that the sale remained on schedule at the planned issue price, even as sources said bankers of the country’s largest secondary share sale were considering extending the timeline beyond January 31, or tweaking the price due to the fall in its share price.
Indian regulations say the share offering must receive minimum subscription of 90%, and if it does not, the issuer must refund the entire amount. Maybank Securities and Abu Dhabi Investment Authority are among investors who bid for the anchor portion of the issue.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 31st, 2023.
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