Adani Enterprises Limited on Thursday dismissed reports the Adani Group had appointed accountancy Grant Thornton to run an independent audit of some of its companies accounts in the wake of allegations of financial fraud and malpractice by short-seller Hindenburg Research.
AEL called the reports ‘market rumour’ and, in an exchange filing, said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment any further, business publication Live Mint said
Also read: Gautam Adani’s flagship firm reports quarterly profit amid Hindenburg row
“We would like to clarify the said news item appears to be a market rumour and hence it would be inappropriate on our part to comment on it… We wish to confirm we have made and will continue to make disclosures in compliance with obligations under SEBI (Listing Obligations and Disclosure Requirements) Regulations, 2015 and our agreements with stock exchanges,” AEL said in its filing.
Gautam Adani’s conglomerate has lost around $120 billion in market value since the report by US-based short-seller Hindenburg broke. The Adani Group has denied allegations of ‘brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud… over the course of decades’ and has since sought to reassure investors, emphasising a ‘very healthy’ balance sheet amid concerns of an overlarge debt.
In an effort to assauge such concerns the Adani Group has been paying off some of its debts; on Wednesday business daily Economic Times said it is in talks with lenders to pay off a $500 million bridge loan facility taken to buy controlling stakes in cement cos ACC Ltd and Ambuja Cements Ltd.
More reassurances by Adani came hours after market regulator SEBI said it is probing the claims made by Hindenburg; both SEBI and the Reserve Bank of India have also been approached by the Congress, which has sought an inquiry into the exposure of public financial bodies to the crisis.
The Group said it had secure assets and strong cashflows, ‘fully funded’ business plans and remains ‘confident in the continued ability of our portfolio to deliver superior returns to shareholders’.
Also: Adani stocks slide as Moody’s changes outlook on 4 firms to ‘negative’
The crisis that has engulfed the Adani Group has also led to a political squabble in India, with opposition parties, including the Congress, targeting the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party for having ‘favoured’ Adani, who is from prime minister Narendra Modi’s home state of Gujarat.
Multiple petitions – demanding inquiries into the various claims – have been filed before the Supreme Court, which is due to hear a clutch on Friday. The top court has already asked the government to put in place a ‘robust framework’ by amending laws and strengthening the supervisory control of SEBI in order to protect the interests of thousands of investors.
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