Adanis bought $4 bn shares in 2023 against $2.85 bn sold

Billionaire Gautam Adani and entities owned by him bought shares worth 32,480.6 crore ($3.94 billion) in five of the group’s 10 listed firms in 2023, more than the 23,551 crore ($2.85 billion) worth of shares they sold, stock exchange data showed.

The companies are Adani Enterprises Ltd, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, Adani Green Energy and Adani Energy Solutions Ltd.

The data debunks the perception that the conglomerate was forced to sell promoter equity in March last year after a scathing report by US short-seller Hindenburg Research in January hammered stock prices of group firms. Also, this is in addition to the money spent by Adani in taking back some of the shares pledged with banks, as the percentage of equity offered as collateral with the creditors reduced across all companies.

Among these five companies, promoters still ended 2023 with less ownership in four companies—Adani Enterprises, Adani Power, Adani Green Energy and Adani Energy Solutions, compared to 2022. This happened because promoters began buying shares in the second half of last year when they were valued 30-40% higher than the time they sold shares in the first half of last year.

Promoters ended 2023 with higher ownership in Adani Ports and SEZ, even as their stake remained unchanged in Adani Total Gas, Adani Wilmar, ACC, Ambuja Cement and NDTV.

Mint could not ascertain the source of the funds of the nine promoter entities that bought shares in the five Adani firms.

An email sent to the Adani Group on Saturday seeking comment remained unanswered.

Interestingly, S.B. Adani Family Trust, the promoter entity that owns majority of shares in all five public companies, sold the bulk of shares in three entities. But the Adani Group used Mauritius-headquartered entities to buy back shares.

Gautam Adani and his four brothers, Vinod, Rajesh, Mahasukh and Vasant are beneficiaries of Ahmedabad-based S.B. Adani Family Trust.

Last year was a roller-coaster for the conglomerate after Hindenburg Research’s January report accused it of stock manipulation and accounting fraud, and said it was “pulling the largest con in corporate history”. The group denied all allegations, but shareholders were rattled as the stock price tumbled over the next three months.

But the conglomerate managed to tide over the storm by paying back $2.65 billion that it had raised by putting shares as collateral to the banks. Improving financial health aided investor sentiment as shares rallied. Adani’s listed businesses clocked Ebitda of 71,253 crore in the first six months of 2023-24, more than the 70,000-crore-odd Ebitda of other companies comprising the country’s FMCG sector, including Hindustan Unilever and Nestle, over the past four years. Ebitda stands for earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization.

By October 2023, Adani managed to secure $3.5 billion of new loans from global banks. In December, a confident management kicked off a series of roadshows from Pune to attract wealthy retail investors to buy shares of its listed firms.

Analysts, too, appear to be taking note of the changing fortunes as a bullish note, ‘India’s Path to Self-Reliance Runs Through Adani’, by Cantor Fitzgerald pushed up the group’s shares.

“To that extent, we believe AEL (Adani Enterprises Ltd) is at the core of everything India wants to accomplish,” Brett Knoblauch and Thomas Shinske, analysts with Cantor Fitzgerald wrote in a note dated 28 January.

“AEL is the most relied upon company for bringing energy resources into India; it owns eight airports that account for ~25% of airline passenger traffic and ~33% of cargo, it is building several data centers throughout the country, it is contracted to lay more than 5,000 km of roads, and is an integral manufacturer of solar and wind equipment for India’s renewable energy ambitions, among numerous other businesses.”

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Published: 30 Jan 2024, 12:41 AM IST

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