On January 24th, Hindenburg Research released a report alleging numerous issues of suspected fraud at the Adani Group, one of India’s largest conglomerates run by the world’s then-third richest man, Gautam Adani. In response, Adani released a 413-page document claiming that Hindenburg Research is the “Madoffs of Manhattan”. The response attempted to steer the focus away from the substantive issues and instead played a nationalist card, claiming that the report was a “calculated attack on India”.
Allegations of Suspicious Dealings on Adani group
Hindenburg Research released a report alleging that the Adani Group has engaged in billions of dollars in suspicious dealings with its chairman’s brother, Vinod Adani, and his offshore shell entities. The report presents evidence of the entities being used for stock parking and accounting manipulation. Adani’s defense is that Vinod Adani is not a related party to the group and that there are no conflicts of interest.
Adani’s Response: Inadequate and Unclear
Adani’s response consisted of 330 pages of court records and 53 pages of financials and other information, however, it only answered about 30 pages related to the report. Of the 88 specific questions asked by Hindenburg Research, Adani failed to specifically answer 62 of them. In some instances, the group attempted to sidestep the findings by pointing to their own writings, while in others they confirmed the findings.
Core Allegations Left Unanswered by Adani group
The core allegations of Hindenburg’s report, which focused on suspect transactions with offshore entities, were left unaddressed by Adani’s response. This raises more questions and concerns about the Adani Group’s business practices and calls for a thorough investigation.
Irregularities and Connections with Offshore Entities
Hindenburg also outlined numerous irregularities and connections between suspected offshore stock parking entities and Adani Promoters, raising questions about whether promoter holdings were fully disclosed. Adani’s response claimed it simply doesn’t know who its largest public holders are.
Market Manipulation Investigations
The report documented a 2007 ruling by SEBI declaring that Adani promoters had aided and abetted infamous market manipulator Ketan Parekh in his manipulation of shares of Adani Enterprises’ predecessor entity. The report asked Adani to explain their involvement in the manipulation, but Adani simply declared the question to be incorrect and claimed the matter had been settled.
The report highlighted the repeated market manipulation investigations and prosecutions faced by Adani, including more than 70 entities and individuals, including Adani promoters. Adani responded by claiming ignorance of the proceedings.
False Statements to Regulators by Adani group
The report raised questions about Adani’s relationship with Vinod Adani, who was a director of Adani Group companies at the time of the investigation into over-invoicing allegations. Adani’s response seemed to confirm that their previous statements to regulators were false, claiming that Vinod was not involved in relevant entities during the investigation period.
Massive Payments to Private Contractor by Adani group
The report showed that listed Adani companies had paid INR 63 billion to private contractor PMC Projects, which was controlled by the son of a close associate of Vinod Adani. Despite being an Adani representative, there were no related party disclosures about the massive payments. Adani failed to respond to these questions.
Bailouts and Offer for Sale Deals
The report showed that Mauritius shareholders had bailed out Adani Green Energy and helped it avoid delisting by participating in offer for sale deals.
Adani Green Energy faced the risk of delisting due to a shortage of shares in the public float. To avoid this, Mauritius shareholders bailed out the company by participating in offer for sale deals. This raises concerns about the authenticity of the deal as well as the entities involved in the transactions. Adani was asked to provide details about these entities, but instead of addressing the issue, they simply repeated the report’s analysis.
The Follow-On Public Offer in Adani Enterprises contained several of the same Mauritius funds that the Hindenburg report had identified as potentially being in violation of SEBI regulations. This raises questions about the legitimacy of the fund transfers and the role of these entities in the Adani Group’s operations.
The report also asked Adani to clarify their relationship with a Chinese National, Chang Chung-Ling, but Adani failed to address the question. This lack of transparency and accountability further undermines confidence in the Adani Group and calls for a thorough investigation into their business practices.
In conclusion, the Hindenburg report raises serious concerns about the Adani Group’s financial dealings and operations. Adani’s response failed to address key issues and questions raised in the report, and in some instances, confirmed the findings of the report. The lack of transparency and accountability highlights the need for a thorough investigation into the Adani Group’s business practices and a clearer understanding of the entities and individuals involved in their operations.
Credits : Hindenburg Detailed Reply