ADANI FLAUNTS ROBUST EARNINGS, LOW DEBT; SAYS BEST IS YET TO COME

New Delhi, Jun 24 (PTI) Billionaire Gautam Adani on Monday cited record earnings, robust cash positions and the lowest debt ratios to state that his ports-to-energy conglomerate was stronger than ever and its best is yet to come.

With India marching towards becoming a USD 10 trillion economy by 2032 and infrastructure expected to grow at 20-25 per cent to reach USD 2.5 trillion, Adani group being an infrastructure company "at the very core", is "well positioned to capitalise on the upcoming opportunities", he said.

Speaking at the annual shareholders meeting of his group's flagship firm, Adani Enterprises Ltd, India's second richest person reflected upon the unprecedented crisis his conglomerate faced last year following a damning report by a US short seller.

"We were faced with baseless accusations made by a foreign short seller that questioned our decades of hard work. In the face of an unprecedented attack on our integrity and reputation, we fought back and proved that no challenge could weaken the foundations on which your Group has been established," said Adani, who turned 62 on Monday.

Hindenburg Research came out with a litany of findings, accusing the Adani group of stock manipulation, accounting fraud, inflating valuations, siphoning out money and creating a complex web of shell companies that invested in group entities, flouting regulatory norms. Adani Group denied all allegations but this did not prevent its market values from dropping by USD 150 billion at its lowest point.

"Typical short sellers target gains from financial markets. This was different. It was a two-sided attack - a vague criticism of our financial standing and, at the same time, an information distortion campaign, dragging us into a political battlefield," he said.

The report came two days before AEL's Rs 20,000 crore follow-on public offer - the largest ever in India - closed in January 2023.

"Amplified by a segment of vested media, it was designed to defame us, do maximum damage and erode our hard-earned market value," he said, adding that "given the noise", the group returned proceeds from the offering after successfully raising Rs 20,000 crore.

Dwelling upon the strategy, he said the group raised Rs 40,000 crore to cover for debt repayments of the next two years, pre-paid Rs 17,500 crore of margin-linked financing, cut down debt and improved business focus.

"This approach has not only strengthened our financial resilience but has also increased our headroom for future expansion," he said. "The headwinds that tested us became the very ones that made us even stronger."

He went on to showcase the 30 GW renewable energy park his group is developing at Gujarat's Khavda, in one of the world's toughest deserts, that will be enough to power nations like Belgium and Switzerland, the Dharavi redevelopment that promises to transform the world's largest slum over the next decade, and the development of Drishti 10 Starliner UAV that will help protect the Indian borders.

"And the outcomes are manifested in the financial numbers we delivered. We achieved an unprecedented milestone in 2023-24. We recorded our highest EBITDA of Rs 82,917 crore - or approximately USD 10 billion - a remarkable surge of 45 per cent," he said, adding that net profit soared 71 per cent to a record high of Rs 40,129 crore while net debt to EBITDA fell from 3.3x to 2.2x over the past year.

And all of this resulted in an all-time-high level of liquidity for the Group with a cash balance of Rs 59,791 crore.

"With our record results, robust cash positions and the lowest debt ratios in our history, our path ahead is illuminated with the promise of even greater accomplishments," he said. "The possibilities before us are immense. We are stronger than ever. And our best is yet to come."

Adani said in a world that stands at a crossroads of geopolitical tensions, growing fight against climate change and technology change disrupting lives and work, the world is witnessing the rise of India.

"This is India's moment," he said. "We are now the force for stability, cooperation and progress in a complex world. And it is India's macroeconomic stability and ambitious growth plans that inspire our confidence."

India, he said, is no longer at the crossroads of destiny. "We stand on the brink of our greatest growth phase. By the end of this decade, our nation is set to become the world's third-largest economy," he said.

2024-06-24T09:52:27Z dg43tfdfdgfd