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Adani row rocks Indian parliament

By Reuters
Published : 03 Feb 2023 10:07 PM | Updated : 04 Feb 2023 05:29 PM

Both houses of India's parliament were adjourned on Friday amid chaotic scenes as some lawmakers demanded an inquiry following the meltdown of shares in billionaire Gautam Adani's group companies.

Shares in Adani companies recovered after sharp falls earlier in the day, but the seven listed firms have still lost about half their market value - or more than $100 billion combined - since US short-seller Hindenburg Research last week accused the group of stock manipulation and unsustainable debt.

Adani Group, one of India's top conglomerates, has rejected the criticism and denied wrongdoing in detailed rebuttals, but that has failed to arrest the unabated fall in its shares.

For Adani, the crisis presents the biggest reputational and business challenge of his life, as his firm struggles to assuage investor concerns.

Credit ratings agency Moody's warned on Friday the share plunge could hit the group's ability to raise capital, although peer Fitch saw no immediate impact on its ratings.

"These adverse developments are likely to reduce the group’s ability to raise capital to fund committed capex or refinance maturing debt over the next 1-2 years. We recognise that a portion of the capex is deferrable," Moody's said.

Sources have told Reuters the central bank has asked lenders for details of exposure to the group.

The speakers of both houses of parliament adjourned proceedings on Friday as some lawmakers disrupted business by shouting slogans such as: "We want a joint parliamentary committee (to investigate)".

On Thursday, S&P Dow Jones Indices said it would drop the conglomerate's flagship Adani Enterprises from widely used sustainability indexes on Feb. 7, which would blunt their appeal for environment-conscious investors.

Adani Enterprises shares closed 1.4 per cent higher, after earlier slumping 35 per cent to hit their lowest since March 2021 during trade. That low took its losses to nearly $33.6 billion since last week, for a decline of 70 per cent.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd was up 8 per cent while Adani Transmission Ltd and Adani Green Energy Ltd were both down 10 per cent.

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