The Adani Group on Monday dismissed a report by the Financial Times that had claimed that almost half of all foreign direct investment into the conglomerate between 2017 and 2022 came from offshore entities linked to the Adani family.
The report, published on March 22, had analysed India’s foreign direct investment, or FDI, remittance statistics that showed that offshore companies linked to the Adanis invested at least $2.6 billion in the conglomerate. This amount comprises 45.4% share of the total $5.7 billion FDI the conglomerate received between 2017 and 2022.
However, on Monday, the Adani Group claimed that the report contained fundamental misunderstandings of prior Adani Group disclosures that resulted in inaccuracies in the story.
According to the Financial Times report, most offshore shell companies supplying FDI to the Adani Group have been disclosed as its promoter group. The report defined the promoter group as those who are closely tied to the conglomerate’s chairperson Gautam Adani or his immediate family.
The biggest investments came from two companies directly or indirectly linked to Adani’s elder brother Vinod Adani, reported the newspaper.
“Emerging Market Investment DMCC, which states on its website that it only invests Vinod Adani’s funds, ploughed $631mn into Adani companies between 2017 and 2018,” it said. “Meanwhile, Mauritius-registered Gardenia Trade and Investment, which invested $782mn into Adani companies between 2021 and 2022, is directed by Emerging Market’s manager Subir Mittra.”
The report also claimed that it was difficult to ascertain whether funds from Mauritius-based offshore companies were violating India’s prohibition on round-tripping overseas investments rules. Round trip is when money is sent out of India to a regulation-light offshore jurisdiction, then brought back into a connected company to boost its share price.
“Adani’s net worth ballooned 125% to $10.4bn over the course of 2017, according to Bloomberg data, faster than any other Indian tycoon that year,” it added.
In its statement on Monday, the conglomerate claimed that in January 2021, it had publicly disclosed that the Adani Group’s promoters raised $2 billion through the sale of a 20% stake in Adani Green Energy Ltd to TotalEnergies of France.
It also claimed that in October 2019, the promoters had raised $700 million through the sale of a 37.4% stake in Adani Total Gas Ltd.
“These funds were reinvested by promoter entities to support the growth of new business and in portfolio companies such as Adani Enterprises Ltd, Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, Adani Transmission Ltd and Adani Power Ltd,” the conglomerate said.
It added: “The promoter entities have had substantial holdings in Adani companies, which have increased over time. It is through the timely use of funds received through the sale of equity that these entities have been able to increase their investments.”
The Indian conglomerate has asked the British daily to take down its report alleging “competitive race to tear down” the Adani Group.
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”.
Trinamool Congress Party MP Mahua Moitra on Monday said that Adani Group’s statement is another attempt of shutting down media reports that are critical of its functioning.
“After buying out most of Indian media into silence Adani Group asks FT to take down story on its offshore entities,” Moitra said. “Sort of like Canadian CFO [Adani Group Chief Financial Offficer, Jugeshinder Singh] telling us how we’re bad Indians by attacking Adani.”