'Biggest con': Adani suffers $107 billion loss after damning report

The group released a 413-page report, but that was not enough to soothe investors.
Loukia Papadopoulos
Gautam Adani, Chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group.
Gautam Adani, Chairperson of Indian conglomerate Adani Group.

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India's Adani conglomerate suffered losses that amounted to a total of $107 billion, according to a report by CNBC published on February 2. This development followed a short-seller report that led the company to walk back a planned public share sale.

U.S. investor Hindenburg Research released a report on January 24, 2023, and a statement a few days later accusing Adani Group of being the "biggest con in corporate history,"

A lengthy but ultimately infective riposte

In a 413-page riposte, the Adani Group firmly denied the accusations, calling them "nothing but a lie" from the "Madoffs of Manhattan." However, investors were not soothed.

"It is tremendously concerning that the statements of an entity sitting thousands of miles away, with no credibility or ethics, has caused serious and unprecedented adverse impact on our investors," the Adani response said, referring to Hindenburg as an "unethical short seller."

"Hindenburg has not published this report for any altruistic reasons but purely out of selfish motives and in flagrant breach of applicable securities and foreign exchange laws," it added.

A previous statement by Hindenburg doubled down on its accusations stating that Adani has failed to address any of the issues raised in its report that accused the company of engaging in a "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme."

"Instead, as expected, Adani has resorted to bluster and threats," Hindenburg's statement said.

"Regarding the company's threats of legal action, to be clear, we would welcome it. We fully stand by our report and believe any legal action taken against us would be meritless.

"We have a long list of documents we would demand in a legal discovery process."

Fundamentally, the accusations against Adamani consist of claims that the group was loading companies with debt that put the entire group on a "precarious financial footing."

Hindenburg further claimed that Adani had "predictably tried to lead the focus away from substantive issues and instead stoked a nationalist narrative, claiming our report amounted to a 'calculated attack on India.'"

A decision not to go ahead with the FPO

Meanwhile, on Wednesday, Adani released a statement saying the group had decided not to go ahead with the fully subscribed Follow-on Public Offer (FPO).

"The Board takes this opportunity to thank all the investors for your support and commitment to our FPO. The subscription for the FPO closed successfully yesterday," said Gautam Adani, the chairman of Adani Group, thanking stakeholders for their faith and belief in the company, its business, and its management.

"However, today, the market has been unprecedented, and our stock price has fluctuated over the course of the day. Given these extraordinary circumstances, the company's board felt that going ahead with the issue would not be morally correct."

He concluded that the interest of the investors was paramount. Hence, to insulate them from any potential financial losses, the board has decided not to go ahead with the FPO.