India’s Adani conglomerate deepened market losses to exceed $100 billion on Thursday, which have snowballed since a short-seller’s scathing report triggered market turmoil and led the company to walk back its public share sale.
Losses across Gautam Adani’s main businesses hit $107 billion by 10 a.m. London time on Thursday since the Jan. 24 publication of an extensive critical report from New York’s Hindenburg Research, which has disclosed a short position in Adani Group companies.
Alleging a two-year investigation, the report charged the conglomerate with engaging in a “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.”
The Adani firmly denied the accusations as “nothing but a lie” from the “Madoffs of Manhattan” in a 413-page riposte that failed to soothe skittish investor sentiment and rein in a rapid sell-off.
“It is tremendously concerning that the statements of an entity sitting thousands of miles away, with no credibility or ethics has caused serious and unprecedented adverse impact on our investors,” the Adani response said, describing Hindenburg as an “unethical short seller.”
“Hindenburg has not published this report for any altruistic reasons but purely out of selfish motives and in flagrant breach of applicable securities and foreign exchange laws,” it said.
Hindenburg on Jan. 29 retorted that the Adani commentary “predictably tried to lead the focus away from substantive issues and instead stoked a nationalist narrative, claiming our report amounted to a ‘calculated attack on India’.”
Forbes downgraded Gautam Adani from its Top 10 list of the richest men in the world.
The swift share decline of Adani Group companies has sparked concerns over broader systemic risk to Indian markets. India’s central bank has asked local banks for the details of their exposure to the Adani conglomerate, Reuters reported Thursday, citing government and banking sources.
“Unprecedented” market conditions and sharp fluctuations in the daily stock price pushed Adani Enterprises to ax its $2.5 billion follow-on public offering (FPO) on Wednesday.
“The interest of the investors is paramount and hence to insulate them from any potential financial losses, the Board has decided not to go ahead with the FPO,” Adani said in a statement.
The FPO sale had achieved a full subscription.
—CNBC’s Ganesh Rao contributed to this article.