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Adani shares plunge further as it weighs legal action against short seller firm – CNBC

Chairman and founder of the Adani Group, Gautam Adani, at the News18 Rising India Summit on Feb. 25, 2019, in New Delhi, India. Since becoming a billionaire in 2008, Adani is now one of the richest people in the world, with a $113 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

Hindustan Times | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

Shares of Adani Group companies continued to see sharp losses for a second consecutive trading session in India, after short seller firm Hindenburg announced its short position in the conglomerate’s firms earlier this week.

In a lengthy report released earlier this week, Hindenburg detailed multiple allegations against the conglomerate’s companies, saying the group has “engaged in a brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”

Adani rejected the claims in two separate statements, describing the short seller’s claims as an “intentional and reckless attempt by a foreign entity to mislead the investor community and the general public,” according to a media release.

“We are evaluating the relevant provisions under US and Indian laws for remedial and punitive action against Hidenburg Research,” said Adani Group’s head of legal, Jatin Jalundhwala.

Mumbai-listed shares of Adani Enterprises fell more than 9% in India’s trading session on Friday. Adani Transmission fell 19.47%, Adani Green Energy shed 19.89% and Adani Power lost 5%. Adani Port’s share price also dropped 13.8%.

The moves follow Wednesday’s losses after the initial release of Hindenburg’s report. India’s stock market was closed on Thursday.

The short seller firm doubled down on its initial stance after Adani’s responses, emphasizing that the conglomerate has not answered any of the questions raised, adding any lawsuits filed against Hindenburg will be “meritless.”

“If Adani is serious, it should also file suit in the U.S. where we operate. We have a long list of documents we would demand in a legal discovery process,” it said.

“We fully stand by our report and believe any legal action taken against us would be meritless,” it said.

Billionaire investor and CEO of Pershing Square Capital Management, Bill Ackman, voiced his support for the short seller firm in a tweet posted shortly before India’s market open.

“I found the Hindenburg report highly credible and extremely well researched,” he wrote, adding that Adani Group’s response “speaks volumes.”

“Caveat emptor,” he added.

$2.5 billion share offering

The latest back-and-forth between Asia’s richest man Gautam Adani’s group and the short seller firm comes as Adani Enterprises kicked off its bidding for retail investors for its 200 billion rupee ($2.45 billion) secondary share offering on Friday.

The firm last week set a floor price for the offering of 3,112 rupees per share, with a price cap of 3,276 rupees per share, according to a filing.

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Reuters reported that anchor investors, institutions that are allotted shares at a fixed price before the offering opens to the public, made bids of shares worth 90 billion rupees and that Malaysia’s Maybank was allocated more than 34% of the shares reserved for institutional investors, while the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority picked up 2.56%.

Since becoming a billionaire in 2008, Adani is now one of the richest people in the world, with a $113 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. His net worth dropped about $7 billion in the year to date, the index showed.

In August last year, the company sought a hostile takeover of Indian media group NDTV, which in a filing said the move was “carried out without any consent” from its founders.