Two days after a bloodbath at the markets where shares of Adani Group fell as much as 25 per cent, amid reports that the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) had frozen the accounts of three foreign portfolio investors, the Chief Financial Officer of Adani Group, in an exclusive interview to NDTV, said that the group was aware of the identity of key investors in foreign portfolios which have invested heavily in the company but did not name any specific individuals.
“We know the investors,” said Jugeshinder Singh, the Chief Financial Officer of the ports to energy sector conglomerate, days after an Economic Times report stated that the accounts of Mauritius-based Cresta Fund, Albula Investment Fund and APMS Investment Fund had been frozen by the NSDL.
The report triggered a free-fall of stocks of companies owned by billionaire Gautam Adani, which ended up losing $7 billion in value despite a strong clarification which stated that all accounts were operational and that the report was ”causing irreparable loss of economic value to the investors at large and reputation of the group”.
Asked whether Adani Group knew of the antecedents of these foreign portfolios which reportedly share an address in Mauritius, Mr Singh said, “It is a question for the regulatory authorities to look at.” Asked to clarify these remarks, he said, “We are aware of the fact that they are investors with us. We don’t specifically go and check because it is not a KYC that… we check the KYC of anyone who invests. That is done by a separate regulatory body.” However, the three funds were long-term investors in Adani Group.
“These entities have been investors in our incubation company, Adani Enterprise, way back since before 2010.”
Asked whether the Adanis were even aware that the three key foreign portfolios were listed as being frozen on the NSDL site, the top officer said that this was part of an old SEBI order. “We were generally aware but it is not something to do with our businesses or verticals so we don’t specifically pay… or it is not an area of interest to us. The area of our interest is how the regulators are looking at our company,” Mr Singh said.
Referring to the news report that triggered the collapse as ”tabloid commentary”, Mr Singh said the growth of Adani Group remains virtually unmatched. “Look at Adani Ports. The annual growth rate is over double digits and (they) are the market leaders. I would just simply say this, you take India’s best IT company, India’s best FMCG company, India’s best bank and you put Adani Port or Adani Greens or Adani Transmission alongside them. Look at our growth rate and look at the growth rate of the market.”
Adani stocks remains stretched for a third consecutive day amid the uncertainty over its foreign investors. Three out of the six listed Adani companies hit their lower circuit breakers for a third consecutive session.