The Adani group, whose mostly debt-fueled breakneck expansion saw gross debt doubling in four years, has almost $2 billion worth of foreign-currency bonds coming up for repayment in 2024, according to a presentation the conglomerate made to investors.
The apples-to-airport conglomerate borrowed over $10 billion in foreign currency bonds between July 2015 and 2022 across group companies. Of this, $1.15 billion of bonds matured in 2020 and 2022.
There are no maturities in 2023 but three issuances — $650 million by the ports arm APSEZ and two of renewable energy unit Adani Green Energy Ltd ($750 million and $500 million) are due for payment in 2024.
Adani group management, including group chief financial officer Jugeshinder Singh, held last month roadshows in Singapore and Hong Kong to reassure investors that the company’s finances are under control. These are to be extended to Dubai, London, and the US from March 7 to 15.
Executives told investors they will address upcoming debt maturities including potentially offering private placement notes and using cash from operations.
Adani group’s gross debt has grown from ₹1.11-lakh crore in 2019 to ₹2.21-lakh crore in 2023, according to the presentation made to investors last month. After including cash, the net debt was ₹1.89-lakh crore in 2023. There are no foreign currency bond maturities in 2025 but have $1 billion of repayments due in 2026.
A month after a damning report by a US short seller lopped off $135 billion in market value from Adani group’s listed companies, the conglomerate is hoping to claw back the narrative now by choosing slow and steady growth over the breakneck, mostly debt-fueled, expansion spree of recent years.
It has already scrapped a ₹7,000 crore coal plan 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.
Hindenburg Research in a January 24 report accused the Adani group of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud” and using a number of offshore shell companies to inflate stock prices. The group has denied all allegations, calling them “malicious”, “baseless” and a “calculated attack on India”.
The report triggered a ₹12.06-lakh crore sell-off in Adani group’s 10 listed firms. This was nearly equivalent to the market capitalization of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) — India’s second most valuable company.
Drop in richest list
The group’s founder and chairman Gautam Adani, 60, a first-generation entrepreneur, lost $80.6 billion in wealth, which was primarily based on the valuation of his holding in group companies. He was worth $120 billion before Hindenburg and was the world’s third richest and Asia’s most wealthy businessman. But his ranking slipped to No. 34 after the Hindenburg report.
An uptick in all group stock in the last three trading sessions, however, has led him to come back at No. 24 with a net worth of close to $50 billion. He however continues to trail rival Mukesh Ambani, whom he had overtaken last year to become Asia’s richest and the world’s third-most wealthy businessman. Ambani is ranked at No.11 with $82.6 billion in wealth.