Billionaire Adani Says ‘Twisted Narrative’ on His Firms Hurt Small Investors

Gautam Adani, chairman of Adani Enterprises Ltd. (Photographer: Adeel Halim/Bloomberg)

Billionaire Adani Says ‘Twisted Narrative’ on His Firms Hurt Small Investors

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani said that while “reckless” media reports on his group’s companies triggered a stock rout and hurt investors, such controversies won’t hamper the long-term growth potential of his ports-to-power conglomerate.

“A few media houses indulged in reckless and irresponsible reporting related to administrative actions of regulators,” Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, said in an online address to shareholders Monday. “Unfortunately, some of our small investors were affected by this twisted narrative in which some commentators and journalists seemed to imply that companies have regulatory powers over their shareholders and that companies can compel disclosure.”

Billionaire Adani Says ‘Twisted Narrative’ on His Firms Hurt Small Investors

These comments are the first public pushback by India’s second-richest person after local media reports last month suggested India’s national share depository, due to lack of sufficient disclosures, froze the accounts of three Mauritius-based funds which were heavily invested in Adani Group stocks. While the conglomerate strongly rebutted the report, it stoked a stock rout that shaved billions of dollars off Adani companies’ market value.

The controversy swirled for days around the ownership pattern of Albula Investment Fund, Cresta Fund and APMS Investment Fund. All three of them are based in Mauritius and held more than 90% of their overall corpus in Adani Group firms, according to a June 10 note by Bloomberg Intelligence.

Excitement and criticism around the Adani empire, which started as an agri-trading business in 1980s, has been building up over the past couple of years as the coal magnate looks beyond the dirtiest fossil fuel for expansion. Adani -- with a net worth of almost $56 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index -- oversees businesses across seaports, airports, logistics, mining, thermal and renewable power generation, transmission, data centers, agriculture and city gas utilities.

Here are some of the other highlights from Adani’s speech to shareholders:

  • All of the group units have high growth potential and “every one of them has adjacencies within themselves as well as new sectors we can move into,” he said, calling it a “very distinctive” model
  • This business model will give Adani Group access to “an unlimited B2B and B2C market for the next several decades.” B2B means business-to-business dealings while B2C stands for business-to-consumer.
  • Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd.’s market share rose to 25% of India’s port-based cargo business
  • In 2020, Adani Green Energy Ltd. became the “largest solar company in the world” and, boosted by a recent acquisition, reached its renewables target of 25 gigawatts “four years ahead of schedule”
  • Flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. diversified into managing airports recently and now “one of every four passengers in India flies through an Adani airport”
  • India will become a $15-trillion-plus economy over the next two decades

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