Shares in India’s Adani Enterprises climbed 6% on Monday, paring some initial gains, but several other Adani group companies plunged for the third straight day despite a detailed rebuttal by the group of a U.S. short-seller’s criticisms.
Adani, led by Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani, has locked horns with Hindenburg Research and on Sunday hit back at the short-seller’s report of last week that flagged concerns about debt levels and the use of tax havens. Adani said it complies with all local laws and had made the necessary regulatory disclosures. On Monday, group flagship Adani Enterprises was trading at 2,926 rupees in early trade, as its critical $2.5 billion secondary share sale entered its second day.
That’s still below the price band for the share sale – Adani has set a floor price of 3,112 rupees per share and a cap of 3,276 rupees. On Friday, the first day of the offer, the issue was subscribed 1% amid a broader fall in shares. 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.
Adani Group told Reuters in a statement on Saturday that the sale remains 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 Jan. 31, or tweaking the price due to the fall in its share price. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone was up 5%, but other Adani stocks remained under pressure. Adani Transmission tumbled 17%, Adani Total Gas plunged 20% and Adani Green Energy was down 13%.
The Hindenburg report led to a $48 billion wipe-out in seven listed companies of the Adani group last week. On Monday, responding to Adani’s rebuttal, Hindeburg said the “response largely confirmed our findings and ignored our key questions.” The stock market meltdown has been a dramatic setback for 60-year-old Adani, a school-dropout who rose swiftly in recent years to become the world’s third richest man, before slipping to rank eighth on the Forbes list.
Hindenburg’s report said five of seven key listed Adani companies have reported current ratios, a measure of liquid assets minus near-term liabilities, of below 1 which it said suggested “a heightened short-term liquidity risk”. It said key listed Adani companies had “substantial debt” which has put the entire group on a “precarious financial footing” and that shares in seven Adani listed companies have an 85% downside due to what it called “sky-high valuations”.
Adani’s response on Sunday stated that over the past decade, its group companies have “consistently de-levered”.