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Wait for stock exchanges to update data at quarter-end: Adani CFO

The 10 listed Adani Group companies, which together had lost about USD 135 billion in market value following the report, saw stocks recover some of the lost ground after that

adani group

Photo: Bloomberg

Press Trust of India New Delhi
Adani Group CFO Jugeshinder Robbie Singh on Tuesday said stock exchanges update data on promoter share pledges at the end of the quarter, as he tried to clarify on present data not matching with the conglomerate's statement of repaying all the USD 2.15 billion of share-backed debt.

Singh termed reports suggesting that the company's March 7 and 12 announcements did not match with the information available on stock exchanges as "deliberate misrepresentation".

"...they know that relevant exchanges will update end of quarter," he said in a Twitter post. "The deliberate subterfuge will be clear to all once exchanges update the data post end of quarter." On March 12, the conglomerate stated that it had repaid USD 2.15 billion of loans that were taken by pledging promoter shares.

"In continuation of promoters' commitment to repay the promoter leverage, Adani has completed full prepayment of margin linked share backed financing aggregating to USD 2.15 billion, well before the committed timeline of March 31, 2023," it had said.

Reports, however, suggested that regulatory filings with stock exchanges showed promoter shares in group companies Adani Ports and SEZ, Adani Transmission, Adani Green Energy and Adani Enterprises showed continuing pledge of shares with lenders.

This, Singh said, was "deliberate misrepresentation (and if I speculate out right lies)".

The current quarter will end on March 31 and exchanges will update data thereafter.

He said the group's "public disclosure on the payments" could have been "easily verified that all margin loans of the promoters have been paid in full".

The group had on March 7 stated that it had pre-paid Rs 7,374 crore (about USD 902 million) loans that were taken pledging shares in four group companies. On March 12, it said the aggregate repaid loans now stood at USD 2.15 billion.

"In addition, promoters have also prepaid a USD 500 million facility taken for Ambuja acquisition financing," it said.

Founder Chairman Gautam Adani on March 2 sold shares worth USD 1.87 billion in flagship incubating firm Adani Enterprises Ltd (AEL), port company Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSEZ), electricity transmitting firm Adani Transmission Ltd (AEL) and renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) to GQG Partners in an attempt to turn the narrative building since US short-seller Hindenburg Research released a damning report on January 24.

The 10 listed Adani Group companies, which together had lost about USD 135 billion in market value following the report, saw stocks recover some of the lost ground after that.

However, the group stocks were down on Tuesday after the report on debt payment not matching with pledged shares data came out.

In September last year, CreditSights, a Fitch Group unit, had said that the group was "deeply overleveraged" as it used debt to expand an empire centred on ports and coal mining to include airports, data centres and cement as well as green energy.

In the January 24 report, US short-seller Hindenburg Research flagged "substantial" debt levels at the group while alleging accounting fraud and the use of offshore shell companies to inflate stock prices.

The group has denied all Hindenburg allegations, calling them "malicious", "baseless" and a "calculated attack on India".

Adani group has been hoping to claw back the narrative by choosing slow and steady growth over the breakneck, mostly debt-fuelled, expansion spree of recent years.

It has already scrapped a Rs 7,000-crore coal plant purchase, decided not to bid for a stake in state-backed energy trading firm PTC, reined in expenses, repaid some debt and promised to repay more.

Adani Group's gross debt has doubled in the last four years. It has almost USD 2 billion worth of foreign-currency bonds coming up for repayment in 2024, according to its regulatory filing.

The group's gross debt has grown from Rs 1.11 lakh crore in 2019 to Rs 2.21 lakh crore in 2023, according to a presentation made to investors last month.

After including cash, the net debt was Rs 1.89 lakh crore in 2023.

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First Published: Mar 28 2023 | 11:14 PM IST

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