India’s Adani Group issued a detailed riposte on Sunday to a Hindenburg Research report that sparked a $48 billion rout in its stocks, saying it complies with all local laws and had made the necessary regulatory disclosures.
The conglomerate led by Asia’s richest man, the Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, said last week’s Hindenburg report was intended to enable the US-based short seller to book gains, without citing evidence.
For 60-year-old Adani, the stock market meltdown has been a dramatic setback for a school-dropout who rose swiftly in recent years to become the world’s third richest man, before slipping last week to rank seventh on the Forbes rich list.
Adani Group’s response comes as its flagship company, Adani Enterprises ADEL.NS, pushes ahead with a $2.5 billion share sale. This has been overshadowed by Hindenburg’s report, which flagged concerns about debt levels and the use of tax havens.
“All transactions entered into by us with entities who qualify as ‘related parties’ under Indian laws and accounting standards have been duly disclosed by us,” Adani said in the 413-page response issued late on Sunday.
“This is rife with conflict of interest and intended only to create a false market in securities to enable Hindenburg, an admitted short seller, to book massive financial gain through wrongful means at the cost of countless investors,” it added.
Its report had questioned how the Adani Group has used offshore entities in tax havens such as Mauritius and the Caribbean islands, adding that certain offshore funds and shell companies “surreptitiously” own stock in Adani’s listed firms.
The research report, Adani said, made “misleading claims around offshore entities” without any evidence whatsoever.
Adani said on Thursday that it is considering taking action against Hindenburg, which responded on the same day by saying it would welcome such a move.
Hindenburg’s report also 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 per cent downside due to what it called “sky-high valuations”.
Adani’s response stated that over the past decade, its group companies have “consistently de-levered”.