Tuesday, 28 March, 2023

Adani protests ensue in India as sell-off losses top $110b

  • Sun Online Desk
  • 6th February, 2023 05:46:36 PM
  • Print news

The crisis engulfing the Adani Group intensified on Monday (Feb 6) as dozens of members from India's main opposition party were detained by police during protests, and parliament was suspended again due to disruptions over the saga.

Adani shares continued their freefall, with the conglomerate's cumulative market value loss now topping US$110 billion.

The crisis was triggered by United States-based short-seller Hindenburg Research's report on Jan 24, accusing the Adani Group of stock manipulation, unsustainable debt and the use of tax havens.

The Adani Group, one of India's top conglomerates, has rejected the criticism and denied wrongdoing in detailed rebuttals, but that has failed to arrest the unabated fall in its shares.


In New Delhi's Jantar Mantar, a Mughal-era observatory that doubles up as a protest site for all causes, protesters held up banners and shouted slogans against Adani Group's billionaire founder Gautam Adani.

Some broke through barricades, forcing the police to detain them.

Hundreds of Congress Party members gathered to protest across the country, including outside several offices of state-owned insurer Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) and State Bank of India (SBI), both of which have exposure to Adani Group companies.

At Jantar Mantar, some members burnt a suitcase with an SBI logo on it.

Both houses of India's parliament were also adjourned on Monday, the third consecutive day, amid sloganeering and demands to launch an inquiry.

In the brutal fallout of Hindenburg's report, Adani Group flagship company Adani Enterprises was forced to abandon a US$2.5 billion share sale last week.

Adani has lost his crown as Asia's richest person and slipped down the global rankings of the wealthy.

Critics say he has close ties with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and they are both from the same Gujarat state.

But Adani has denied allegations by Modi's opponents that he had benefited from their close ties, and Modi's government has also denied those allegations.


The stock market rout triggered a series of credit ratings warnings last Friday with Moody's saying the Adani Group may struggle to raise capital, and fellow credit rating firm S&P cutting its outlook on two of its companies.

Even attempts by regulators and the Indian government to calm spooked investors do not appear to be working.

The Reserve Bank of India said last Friday the country's banking system remains resilient and stable. India's market regulator added on Saturday the country's financial markets remain stable and continue to function in a transparent and efficient manner.

SBI said last Friday it was not concerned about the exposure to the Adani group, but further financing to its projects would be "evaluated on its own merit".

India's divestment secretary Tuhin Kanta Pandey told Reuters last Friday that LIC shareholders and customers should not be concerned about its exposure to the Adani Group.

Shares of Adani Enterprises sank 9.6 per cent on Monday, taking its market capitalisation losses to nearly US$28 billion since the release of the Hindenburg report.

Adani Transmission Ltd dropped 10 per cent, while Adani Green Energy, Adani Total Gas, Adani Power, and Adani Wilmar fell roughly 5 per cent.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone was the only stock to buck the trend, rising 1.2 per cent.

Source: CNA