Adani shares tumble again amid fraud claims

Adani shares tumble again amid fraud claims

Pedestrians walk past a screen displaying news on the Adani Group at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai. (Photo: AFP)
Pedestrians walk past a screen displaying news on the Adani Group at the Bombay Stock Exchange in Mumbai. (Photo: AFP)

MUMBAI: Investors dumped more Adani shares on Tuesday, deepening the carnage at India's biggest conglomerate which has already lost around $70 billion in value after allegations of "brazen" corporate fraud.

The latest losses came as a stock sale aimed at raising $2.5 billion was due to close later in the day, with only 21% of the offer subscribed by midday, according to the firm.

Founder Gautam Adani, 60, was the world's third-richest person last week but has slipped to eighth position on Forbes' tracker after his personal fortune lost more than $36 billion since.

Shares in Adani Total Gas saw the biggest fall on Tuesday with trading halted for another session after diving 10% in the morning.

The natural gas distribution company — of which France's TotalEnergies owns 37.4% — has lost 45% in market value over the last week.

Adani Power and Adani Wilmar also hit their circuit breakers after falling five% each, while Adani Green Energy traded 2.58% lower.

Adani Transmission and Adani Ports inched higher and the flagship Adani Enterprises regained some lost ground, trading 3.5% higher.

But the Adani Enterprises shares remained well below the range of 3,112 to 3,276 rupees set for the Follow-on Public Offer (FPO) — making them cheaper to buy in the open market.

Abu Dhabi-based International Holding Company (IHC) gave the group a vote of confidence however, saying Monday it would buy 16% of the shares on offer, paying $400 million to do so.

This makes up most of the 21% that the Indian firm said was subscribed by midday.

'Brazen manipulation'

The slump in Adani's stocks was sparked by a report from the US investment group Hindenburg Research that last week alleged a "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades".

Adani's conglomerate said it was the victim of a "maliciously mischievous" reputational attack and on Sunday issued a 413-page statement that it said rebutted Hindenburg's claims.

Dubbing Hindenburg the "Madoffs of Manhattan" — a reference to crooked financier Bernie Madoff — the statement said the researchers' allegations were "nothing but a lie".

"This is not merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India," Adani said.

Hindenburg said in response to Adani's statement that "India's future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically looting the nation".

It added that Adani's response only included about 30 pages focused on issues related to its report.

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