India’s Adani confident of governance, slams Hindenburg

By Chris Thomas and Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) -India’s Adani Group is confident of its governance and disclosure standards after a top court panel found no lapses at the conglomerate, its chairman said on Tuesday, calling a U.S. short-seller’s report earlier this year a “malicious attempt” at damaging its reputation.

The panel “confirmed the quality of our group’s disclosures and found no instance of any breach,” Adani Chairman Gautam Adani said in his first comments on the findings.

Speaking at the Adani Enterprises’ annual general meeting, Adani said the Hindenburg short-seller report was a “deliberate and malicious attempt aimed at damaging our reputation and generating profits through a short-term drive-down of our stock prices.”

Shares of its group companies are still down around $100 billion after the short-seller’s report in January alleged improper use of tax havens and concerns over its debt levels. The conglomerate has denied any wrongdoing.

A court-appointed panel said in May India’s markets regulator had “drawn a blank” in its investigations into suspected violations in overseas investments in the group and its ongoing pursuit of the case could be a “journey without a destination”.

“While the Securities and Exchange Board of India is still to submit its report, we remain confident of our governance and disclosure standards,” billionaire Adani said.

The regulator must complete its investigation by Aug. 14.

The short-seller report had also forced Adani Enterprises to shelve its key $2.5 billion share sale in February. It has since garnered investor support and repaid part of the debt.

Adani Enterprises shares climbed over 4% on Tuesday, while Adani Transmission and Adani Green Energy rose 4.7% and 5.7%, respectively.

The group is building a hybrid renewables park capable of generating 20 gigawatts of green energy, Adani said on Tuesday.

He also added that Adani Ports, in the next 12-24 months, will commission India’s largest transshipment hub.

(Reporting by Chris Thomas and Nallur Sethuraman in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D’Souza and Nivedita Bhattacahrjee)