The Adani Group on Thursday said that Vinod Adani is one of its promoters, after a report earlier this week claimed that he is the beneficiary owner of cement companies Ambuja Cements and its subsidiary ACC Limited through offshore firms.
The report by The Morning Context on Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani’s elder brother is significant as the Adani Group had last year announced the acquisition of the two cement companies under its own regulatory filings.
However, The Morning Context reported on March 13 that the group had used a special purpose vehicle named Endeavour Trade and Investment Limited to acquire the two companies from the Switzerland-based Holcim Group. Special purpose vehicles are subsidiaries created with specific or temporary objectives, whose assets and liabilities are distinct from the parent company.
The ultimate beneficial owners of Endeavour Trade and Investment are “Mr Vinod Shantilal Adani and Mrs Ranjanben Vinod Adani”, The Morning Context report said, citing the final offer letter issued by Ambuja Cements.
In a stock exchange filing on Thursday, the Adani Group sought to clarify its stand on the matter.
“We would like to submit that Gautam Adani and Rajesh Adani are individual promoters of various listed entities within the Adani Group and Vinod Adani is an immediate relative of the individual promoters,” the group’s flagship firm Adani Enterprises said. “Accordingly, as per the applicable Indian regulations, Mr Vinod Adani is part of the ‘promoter group’ of various listed entities within the Adani Group.”
The statement added that the Adani Group had disclosed in a public offer document on August 19that Endeavour Trade and Investment Limited is an entity controlled by Vinod Adani, and it belongs to the conglomerate.
The Adani Group has been mired in controversy since January 24, when United States-based short seller Hindenburg Research alleged that it gained substantial debt by pledging overvalued shares and that it engaged in “brazen stock manipulation”.
Hindenburg Research had also alleged that Vinod Adani is responsible for creating and managing a vast network of offshore entities meant for stock parking, market manipulation and laundering money, to help the conglomerate’s companies maintain their appearance of healthy financials.
In a statement countering the allegations, the Adani Group had said in January that Vinod Adani “does not hold any managerial position in any Adani listed entities or their subsidiaries and has no role in their day to day affairs”.
However, he is on the board of a Mauritius-based company named Acropolis Trade and Investment Limited, according to The Morning Context. Acropolis is the promoter of a company named Xcent Trade and Investment Limited, which owns Endeavour Trade and Investment, the report said.
The offer letter for the acquisition had stated that in the financial year 2021-’2022, neither Endeavour nor Xcent had any income, but registered losses of $25,980 (Rs 21.39 lakh) each. In 2020-21, Acropolis reported $6.99 billion (Rs 51,400 crore) in profits even though it had “minuscule expenses”, The Morning Context had reported.