By Harry Suhartono
Adani Group bonds rose after a key company started the first debt buyback by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate since it was targeted by a short seller in January.
Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. said it plans to buy back as much as $130 million of its July 2024 bonds and similar amounts in each of the next four quarters, as it tries to show that its liquidity position is comfortable, the firm said in stock exchange filing.
Prices for 10 out of 15 dollar-denominated notes of Adani Group companies tracked by Bloomberg rose as of 11:27 a.m. in Hong Kong on Monday. That was led by a 0.69 cent on the dollar gain of Adani Ports’ July 2024 3.375% senior debt, the biggest advance in a month.
The buyback would mark another effort by the group to regain investor confidence, including trimming capital spending, after a Hindenburg Research report pounded its bonds and shares. Adani Ports’ “measured pace” of repaying debt should enable it to maintain its revised capital spending target of 40 billion to 45 billion rupees ($548 million) in the fiscal year started this month, according to Bloomberg Intelligence.
“Adani Ports’ plan to halve capital spending and prepay 50 billion rupees of debt could alleviate refinancing concerns ahead of major maturities in 2024,” BI analyst Denise Wong wrote in a report dated April 24. But those steps “will impede the company’s ability to boost earnings growth via infrastructure expansion and M&A.”
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Concerns also remain about $6 billion worth of Adani bonds facing the possibility of being downgraded to high-yield debt, in what’s known as fallen-angel risk, BI analyst analyst Sharon Chen wrote in a separate report. She also said that Adani Ports might be less pressured than the group’s utilities firms, given its strong cash flows.