Losses for Adani Group stocks hit $100bn on Thursday after the conglomerate’s flagship company called off a $2.4bn equity sale, saying it would be “not be morally correct” to proceed given the stock wipeout.
All 10 stocks controlled by Adani Group fell in early trading in Mumbai. Adani Enterprises, Adani Transmission and Adani Ports extended losses by 10 per cent, deepening a sell-off triggered last week by a short seller attack on the conglomerate.
In a video address released shortly before markets opened on Thursday, founder Gautam Adani dismissed concerns about the financial health of his empire, saying the share sale’s cancellation “will not have any impact on our existing operations and future plans”.
He said that “considering the volatility of the market seen yesterday, the board strongly felt that it would not be morally correct to proceed” with the follow-on offering, adding that “once the market stabilises, we will review our capital market strategy”.
The decision on Wednesday to pull the share sale and refund investors came after shares in Adani Enterprises fell to Rs2,179.75 ($27), far below the deal’s Rs3,112 floor price.
Adani Group stocks have now lost more than Rs8.4tn since short seller Hindenburg Research accused the conglomerate last Wednesday of using offshore entities in tax havens to inflate the share prices of its listed companies, allowing them to take on more debt and “putting the entire group on a precarious financial footing”. Adani Group has denied the allegations.
Adani made repeated efforts to reassure investors in the lead-up to the share sale, including releasing a 413-page response to the short seller’s allegations. It also enlisted some of India’s leading tycoons to help get the follow-on offering across the line.
Anchor investors including Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company and London-listed Jupiter Asset Management had already committed to buying 30 per cent of the offering before the public share sale began on Friday. IHC on Monday pledged to invest $400mn in the sale.
The sell-off has prompted some financial groups, including Citigroup’s wealth unit, to stop accepting Adani securities as collateral for margin loans, according to one person with direct knowledge of the situation.
Adani Group on Thursday also denied “market rumours” that shares in its cement-making outfits, Ambuja Cements and ACC, had been pledged as collateral as part of acquisition finance and that the group was under pressure to cover losses resulting from share price falls.
Adani Group debt has also been hit by selling, with a dollar bond from Adani Ports maturing in 2024 dropping 20 cents to just below $0.70 on the dollar on Wednesday, while another bond maturing in 2024 from Adani Green Energy fell about 10 cents to $0.67 on the dollar.