Billionaire Gautam Adani lost his title as Asia’s richest person on Wednesday as his conglomerate plunged again in the wake of a US short-seller report.
Wednesday’s stock losses saw Mr Adani slip to 15th on the Forbes rich list with an estimated net worth of $76.8 billion.
Before the critical report by U.S. short-seller Hindenburg, Mr Adani had ranked third.
The rout has wiped out around $92 billion of the value of the conglomerate’s listed units since last week, Bloomberg News said. The industrialist’s personal fortune has plummeted by more than $40 billion in the same period.
The losses mark a dramatic setback for Mr Adani, whose business interests stretch from ports and airports to mining and cement. Now, the tycoon is fighting to stabilise his businesses and defend his reputation.
It comes just a day after the group managed to muster support from investors for a $2.5 billion share sale for flagship firm Adani Enterprises on Tuesday, in what many saw as a stamp of investor confidence.
The report by Hindenburg Research last week alleged improper use by the Adani Group of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation. It also raised concerns about high debt and the valuations of seven listed Adani companies.
The group has denied the allegations, saying the short-seller’s narrative of stock manipulation has “no basis” and stems from an ignorance of Indian law. It has always made the necessary regulatory disclosures, it added.
Shares in Adani Enterprises, often described as the incubator of Adani businesses, plunged 30 per cent on Wednesday. Adani Power fell 5 per cent, while Adani Total Gas slumped 10 per cent, down by its daily price limit.
Adani Transmission was down 6 per cent and Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone dropped 20 per cent.
Adani Total Gas, a joint venture with France’s Total, has been the biggest casualty of the short seller report, losing about $27 billion.
Underscoring the nervousness in some quarters, Bloomberg reported on Wednesday that Credit Suisse had stopped accepting bonds of Adani group companies as collateral for margin loans to its private banking clients.
India’s markets regulator, which has been looking into deals by the conglomerate, has said it will add Hindenburg’s report to its own preliminary investigation.
State-run Life Insurance Corporation (LIC) said on Monday it would seek clarifications from Adani’s management on the short seller report. The insurance giant was, however, a key investor in the Adani Enterprises share sale.
Hindenburg said in its report it had shorted U.S.-bonds and non-India traded derivatives of the Adani Group.
(Disclaimer: New Delhi Television is a subsidiary of AMG Media Networks Limited, an Adani Group Company.)