(Bloomberg) -- A couple of analysts are turning more bullish on one of Gautam Adani’s companies amid the meltdown that has wiped $92 billion off the group’s market value. They’re still mum, however, on the short seller report that triggered the selloff.
Credit Suisse Group AG’s Lokesh Garg and Kotak Institutional Equities’ Aditya Mongia both raised Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. to the equivalent of buy in the wake of Hindenburg Research’s Jan. 24 report. Neither analyst addressed the firm’s allegations of fraud and stock manipulation, or even mentioned the Hindenburg name in their reports.
Garg cited Adani Ports’ “attractive valuations” in his upgrade Tuesday, while Mongia’s Jan. 26 note also cited valuation, plus pricing power and prospects for the company winning major port projects. Neither analyst immediately responded to an email seeking comment on the Hindenburg report.
Valuations are attractive and suggest “a flat year for stock returns in a bear-case scenario,” Mongia wrote in his note. The company offers “growing ports portfolio and prospects of end-to-end logistics offering,” he said.
The silence on Hindenburg may be a sign that securities firms are leery of stepping into a fight between Asia’s second-richest man and a short seller with a track record of successfully betting against companies. Analysts in emerging markets are often hesitant to bring up contentious issues of this magnitude at first due to regulatory and business risks. Adani has dismissed the allegations, saying they were malicious lies and accusing Hindenburg in turn of securities fraud.
Shares of Adani Ports, India’s largest private sector port operator, have slumped 35% since the Hindenburg report. The company, with a market value of about $13 billion, has the cheapest stock among the Adani Group companies that are profitable. The ports business trades at about 13 times estimated earnings compared with a multiple of 57 for the flagship company, Adani Enterprises Ltd.
Analysts expect Adani Ports’ net income will grow by more than 30% annually over the next two fiscal years.
The firm is also the only company beside Adani Enterprises to be part of the NSE Nifty 50 Index and is held by funds. It counts the Vanguard Group, Fidelity Management and Research Co. and Norges Bank among its investors.
Adani Ports also has the most analyst coverage in the group after cement makers ACC Ltd. and Ambuja Cements Ltd., both of which Adani acquired recently. The company had zero bearish ratings, 20 buys and 1 hold, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.
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