India's Adani group said on Tuesday that its companies face no material refinancing risk, or near-term liquidity issues, in its latest attempt to calm investors spooked by a U.S. short-seller's critical report on its business practices.
Led by billionaire Gautam Adani, the group's seven listed companies bearing his name have together lost about $120 billion in market value since a Jan. 24 report by Hindenburg Research alleged improper use of offshore tax havens and stock manipulation, and flagged concerns over high debt.
Adani has rejected the concerns in detailed rebuttals of the Hindenburg report's allegations and criticism that it had unsustainable debt.
In a long-awaited credit report issued by Adani to Indian exchanges on Tuesday, the apples-to-airports group said there was "no material refinancing risk and near-term liquidity requirement as there is no near-term significant debt maturity".
Adani expects the net debt of its flagship firm, Adani Enterprises, to stand at 258.15 billion rupees ($3.12 billion) at the end of fiscal year 2023 ending in March, up from 240.49 billion rupees a year earlier. On an overall basis, the net debt of the group's portfolio companies is estimated to be 1.96 trillion rupees versus 1.48 trillion rupees a year earlier.
The group's debt service cover, a ratio of its cash flow versus debt serviced during the year, is seen at 1.87 times at the end of fiscal 2023, compared to 2.03 times at the end of September.
The credit report comes amid growing market uncertainty about the company's future capital raising plans after the massive falls in share prices led Adani Enterprises to pull a $2.5 billion share sale this month.
The Adani crisis triggered investigations by regulators, briefly stalled parliamentary proceedings and ignited street protests by opposition parties, who accused the government of favouring the conglomerate.
On Tuesday, Indian Home Minister Amit Shah rebutted the allegations, saying Prime Minister Narendra Modi's party has "nothing to hide or be afraid of" on the controversy over the Adani group.
"The Supreme Court has taken cognisance of the matter. As a minister, if the Supreme Court is seized of the matter it is not right for me to comment," Shah, widely considered the most powerful politician in India after Modi, told the ANI news agency.
"But in this, there is nothing for the BJP to hide and nothing to be afraid of," Shah added, referring to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Rivals, including the main opposition Congress party, accuse Modi and the BJP of longstanding ties to the Adani group, going back nearly two decades when Modi was chief minister of the western state of Gujarat. Gautam Adani and Shah also come from the same state.
Modi's immense popularity, however, appears intact for now, according to approval ratings.
There was some respite for the Adani group on Tuesday as shares of its flagship company Adani Enterprises rose as much as 10% after it reported a quarterly profit of 8.2 billion rupees ($99.12 million) for the December quarter, compared to a loss of 116.3 million rupees a year before.
"Shares are reacting to the results and reversing some shorts that might have built up due to speculation," said Sameer Kalra, equity research analyst and founder of Target Investing.
Shares of Adani Power and Adani Green Energy fell 5% in a wider Mumbai market that was up around 1%.
Two large companies within the Adani group are likely to repay their short-term commercial paper (CP) debt as it comes due over the next few months, instead of rolling it over as is normal, two merchant bankers and a company official directly familiar with the matter told Reuters.
India's Economic Times daily reported on Tuesday that Adani group executives had been holding negotiations since last week with Abu Dhabi's International Holding Corp (IHC) for a capital infusion into Adani Enterprises or other group entities.
Adani did not immediately respond to a request seeking comment. IHC said it does not comment on market rumours and speculation.
(Reporting by Sudipto Ganguly and Chris Thomas; Additional reporting by Bansari Mayur Kamdar and Nandan Mandayam in Bengaluru; Writing by Krishna N. Das; Editing by Muralikumar Anantharaman, Aditya Kalra and Sharon Singleton)
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