Feb 2, 2023
Mark Mobius Says Adani’s Debt Raised Questions About Share Sale
(Bloomberg) -- Veteran emerging-markets investor Mark Mobius said his firm didn’t participate in Adani Enterprises Ltd.’s stock sale before it was pulled as concerns about the debt of the Indian tycoon’s firms “scared us away.”
“We were not interested in Adani companies because they did not meet our investment criteria, particularly as regards to debt,” Mobius said by email in response to Bloomberg’s questions on Thursday. The $2.4 billion share sale, which was first announced on Jan. 18, was abruptly pulled on Wednesday as the fallout from a short-seller report by Hindenburg Research continued to spiral.
In a telephone interview with Bloomberg Television later in the day, Mobius added that his firm also usually focuses on smaller companies.
Mobius Capital Partners LLP’s emerging markets fund and investment trust, which have $250 million in assets under management, count India as one of the top allocations.
Shares in Gautam Adani’s businesses have lost $108 billion in a week, one of the biggest wipeouts in India’s history, after Hindenburg accused the Adani group of market manipulation and accounting fraud — allegations the conglomerate has repeatedly denied. Dollar bonds issued by entities in the Adani group have also plunged to distressed levels.
The selloff deepened after Bloomberg reported this week that units of Credit Suisse Group AG and Citigroup Inc. have stopped accepting some securities issued by Adani’s companies as collateral for margin loans to wealthy clients.
The flagship Adani Enterprises sank 27% on Thursday, adding to a 28% tumble in the previous session.
READ: Adani Contagion Spreads as Indian Benchmark Nears Correction
Mobius, who spent more than three decades at Franklin Templeton Investments before founding his own firm in 2018, told Bloomberg last week that he plans to put more money into India as the “long-term future of the market is great.”
He reiterated his bullish view on India in the Bloomberg TV interview on Thursday, saying that the investor retreat as a result of the Hindenburg report “is an Adani problem.” “India is still going to still go from strength to strength. It’s an incredible country with incredible prospects. I think it’s just one of the typical scandals you get in capital markets and it’ll pass,” he said.
To be sure, banks “are now going to be much more cautious as a result of this,” Mobius said. “That will impact some of the highly indebted companies. But those companies that have strong balance sheets and low debt will continue to do well.”
--With assistance from John McCorry and Sagarika Jaisinghani.
(Updates with Mobius’s comments on Bloomberg TV from the first paragraph)
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