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How Asia’s richest man regained his crown

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After experiencing a major downfall in the share market, Adani got up from the chaos and is now seeing a good number in terms of market capitalization. You must be wondering how this happened. To know that, let's give a read in the following post and gain a few insights.

Self-made Indian tycoon Gautam Adani’s wealth has skyrocketed. Amid the Adani Group’s aggressive driven growth, Adani power has risen over 300% from its 52-week low this year making him the 14th richest man globally.

Politicians and market-watchers who raised worries about the Adani Group's complex shareholding structures and the unusually scant number of analysts providing research on its stocks have all gone gravity-defying ascent as Adani Group rises again.

The Adani Group experienced a substantial surge in market capitalization of Rs 3.14 lakh crore last week, propelled by fresh investments in renewable energy. The group's strong performance on the stock exchanges occurred during a week that witnessed record gains for both benchmark indices, Sensex and Nifty, with the latter crossing the 21,000 mark on Friday, 8 December 2023.

Sustained by optimistic investor sentiment, several Adani Group companies garnered attention, with all 10 stocks closing the week in positive territory. Adani Green Energy saw an impressive m-cap boost of over Rs 82,000 crore, driven by the firm's concerted efforts in the renewables sector. The flagship Adani Enterprises witnessed a substantial m-cap gain of over Rs 52,000 crore, while Adani Ports experienced a notable surge of Rs 42,000 crore.

Reason behind the spike

Adani Group has been entrapped in controversy since January 2023, when US-based Hindenburg Research levelled allegations of corporate misgovernance against the company.

But how did Adani Group shares fall drastically and then regained?  Well, the dramatic turnaround started with the Hindenburg report. Here’s a timeline of the major events that happened till now.

The Hindenburg report: How it all started

In late January 2023, Hindenburg Research, a financial research and activist short selling firm, made several allegations against the Adani Group. In a report titled "Adani Group: How A Billionaire's Empire Was Built On A Foundation of Fraud, Corruption, and Unethical Practices," Hindenburg alleged that the Adani Group has engaged in a variety of unethical and potentially illegal practices to inflate its stock prices and mislead investors.

Specifically, Hindenburg alleged that the Adani Group had:

1. Engaged in rampant corruption and bribery to secure government contracts and regulatory approvals.

2. Misused offshore shell companies to hide the true nature of its financial dealings and inflate its stock prices.

3. Engaged in a pattern of deceptive accounting practices, including shifting revenues and expenses between subsidiaries to manipulate financial statements.

4. Misled investors and analysts with false and misleading statements about its financial performance and business operations.

The report highlights a big worry

As per the report, the Adani group owed a lot of money to Indian banks that left the people concerned about whether they would get back their money. The report also caused LIC's investment in the Adani group to fall sharply, making investors anxious about losing money.

Deep holes in Adani’s pocket

Interestingly, the report was released just ahead of an Rs 20,000 crore ($2.5 billion) follow-on public offer (FPO) by Adani Group’s flagship firm Adani Enterprises. In the wake of the report, Adani’s market losses swelled over $100 billion. As per reports, the listed Adani firms had a combined market value of $108 billion, versus $218 billion before Hindenburg’s report.

Matter of National Concern

As the market continued to hammer its stocks, the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) sought details from banks about their exposure to the group.

During Parliament sessions too, the opposition parties demanded that either a Supreme Court-monitored panel or a joint parliamentary committee to probe the charges raised in the Hindenburg report against the Adani, leaving several Parliament sessions paralyzed with their protest.

Adani Group remained in denial

On its part, the Adani Group denied all of Hindenburg's allegations, calling them baseless and motivated by an intention to damage the company's reputation. Subsequently, they announced to call off the Rs 20,000 crore FPO of Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL) and said it would refund the money to the investors.

Investigation

The Supreme Court appointed an expert committee to look into the regulatory failure, especially of SEBI. Meanwhile, SEBI also carried out its own investigation.

Overcoming Hindenburg

On November 24, 2023, the Supreme Court said that it saw no reason to discredit the Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI), which had investigated the allegations against the Adani group. The court stated that there was no evidence to doubt SEBI's findings, and it did not have to accept the Hindenburg report as an accurate representation of the company's situation.

Additionally, the US government recently stated that these allegations did not impact their decision to grant up to $553 million for a Sri Lankan terminal project led by Adani Ports.

In fact, the reports from the US International Development Finance Corporation (DFC) dismissed Hindenburg Research's allegations against the group as insignificant.

Adani’s Stocks turned multibagger

Currently, the Adani Group stocks have gained sharply in recent weeks due to a series of positive developments that have revitalized investor confidence in the group's shares. All 10 listed Adani Group stocks posted double-digit gains last week, with Adani Total Gas, surging by as much as 65%.

Along with the above reasons, another evident speculation for Adani Group stocks to surge high in the last five trading sessions, has been fuelled by the BJP's recent victory in three state polls.

The intertwining of political developments and market dynamics also added to the overall gains of the Adani Group's stocks during this period of fluctuating fortunes.

"Gautam Adani's claim to the crown awaits validation, a verdict reserved for the passage of time."

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