Billionaire Gautam Adani and his family have prepaid all borrowings backed by Adani Group company shares, senior executives at the conglomerate told investors at a meeting in London on Wednesday, according to people who attended. The people did not want to be identified as the talks were confidential.
A spokesperson for the company declined to comment. The London meeting was part of a worldwide roadshow aimed at reassuring international investors that the ports-to-power empire’s finances are under control, after as much as $153 billion in combined market value was erased from company stocks following a January short seller’s report. The report from Hindenburg Research alleged stock manipulation and accounting fraud. It had expressed concerns over the founder’s shares in Adani Group companies being pledged for debt, saying that it was “effectively leveraging the group to the hilt”.
It added that equity share pledges were an inherently unstable source of borrowing because of the possibility of a margin call. Adani has denied the accusations. The company said earlier this week that the founders had prepaid $902 million worth of borrowings backed by shares following another similar $1.1 billion prepayment in February. It said at the time that the payments were “consistent with promoters’ commitment to prepay all share backed financing before 31 March 2023.” The Hindenburg report left investors with a string of questions, particularly on a refinancing plan for the $750 million Adani Green bond due 2024 and how the parent company will reduce debt.
An Adani family trust recently sold 154.5 billion rupees ($1.87 billion) of shares to US investment firm GQG Partners, helping power a recovery in stock prices. The international roadshow began in Singapore and Hong Kong before moving to Dubai and London and will continue in the US, according to a person familiar with the matter, who asked not to be identified. The US meetings will be held over four days, including in New York and Los Angeles, the person said.