(Bloomberg) -- A stocks rally in firms owned by Gautam Adani has added $10 billion to his net worth in the past week after India’s top court concluded hearings in a lawsuit where the markets regulator is probing wide-ranging allegations of corporate malfeasance against the conglomerate.
The founder of the Adani Group, whose stocks were battered earlier this year after a bombshell shortseller report in January, now has a $70.3 billion fortune, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index which currently ranks him among the world’s 20 richest people. Most of this gain was on Tuesday — the first trading day last week after India’s Supreme Court reserved its verdict on the probe saying it won’t take scathing media reports on the conglomerate as the “gospel truth.” The final court ruling is awaited.
Investors, however, seem to have taken court’s observations as a positive cue, stoking a relief rally in Adani’s group of companies. The ports-to-power conglomerate added $12 billion to its market value on Tuesday last week, making it the best day for the group since Hindenburg Research’s Jan. 24 report that accused it of accounting fraud and stock price manipulation. The Adani Group has repeatedly denied these allegations.
Adani stocks saw another big surge on Monday, adding about $8.6 billion in market value, with Adani Green Energy Ltd. leading the pack at 9.5% jump. Adani Enterprises Ltd., the flagship and the incubator for the conglomerate, advanced 7.1% in Mumbai. All ten listed Adani companies ended higher.
“The general view is that the worst is behind and now we will not hear about Hindenburg,” said Abhay Agarwal, founder and portfolio manager at Mumbai-based Piper Serica Advisors.
While the top court’s developments buoyed Adani stocks last week, Monday’s surge was part of a broader market rise after Prime Minister Narendra Modi-led Bharatiya Janata Party won three state elections over the weekend. Adani, who is seen as being close to the premier, has openly pegged his infrastructure empire to Modi’s development goals.
The BJP’s state election gains “seems to have led to buying interest in Adani,” said Deepak Jasani, head of retail research at HDFC Securities Ltd. “The visibility of infrastructure-related investments continues to be bright.”
Back in March, the Supreme Court had asked the local market regulator to probe the US shortseller’s accusations against the Adani Group that triggered a stock rout so severe that it wiped out $153 billion off its market value at one point. A six-member expert panel appointed by the court said in its interim report in May that it saw no regulatory failure or signs of price manipulation in Adani stocks.
While the court’s verdict is still awaited and the outcome of the regulatory probe is not known — signaling the continuing overhang on the conglomerate — the investors seem to be sanguine about Adani Group’s prospects. The conglomerate has in recent months secured a $3.5 billion refinancing, funding from a US government-backed financier for a Sri Lanka port project as well as investments from GQG Partners and Qatar Investment Authority.
“Adani Group’s fundraising and its renewable-energy venture with TotalEnergies signal a shift toward business as usual and reducing ratings risk, as the controversy over Hindenburg Research’s critical report on the group gradually recedes,” Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sharon Chen wrote in a report Monday.
Last week’s gain, however, only partially makes up for the wealth erosion that Adani has seen this year. A first-generation entrepreneur who started as a diamond trader in Mumbai in the 1980s and was the second-richest person briefly in 2022, the tycoon has lost about $50 billion — the biggest wealth loss for any tycoon this year.
--With assistance from Shruti Mahajan, Ishika Mookerjee and Ashutosh Joshi.
(Updates with Monday’s wealth gain in the first paragraph.)
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