The country’s largest private sector port operator, which posted a loss in the most recent quarterly earnings, also stated that it plans to cut capital expenditure by approximately half in the coming fiscal year.
Gautam Adani’s ports unit is considering repaying approximately 50 billion rupees ($604.6 million) in loans, as the ailing Indian tycoon looks to trim debt after a short seller campaign called into question his empire’s financial health and corporate governance.
Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd. is considering comprehensive loan payback and prepayment in the fiscal year beginning in April, which would reduce net debt to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization to around 2.5 times, according to an earnings statement released Tuesday. Currently, the ratio is a little more than three times.
The country’s largest private sector port operator, which posted a loss in the most recent quarterly profits, also indicated it will have roughly half its capital expenditure next fiscal year, compared to this year.
These developments come just one day after a company statement said the billionaire and his family prepaid $1.11 billion in borrowings secured by shares in three group companies, including Adani Ports, to assuage investor concerns. Two other companies in the ports-to-power complex that announced earnings on Tuesday showed solid profit growth, perhaps calming worried investors.
People familiar with the situation say Oaktree Capital Management, one of the world’s top opportunistic debt firms, and Davidson Kempner Capital Management have been among those snapping up bonds tied to the Adani enterprise in recent weeks.
The conglomerate’s finances have come under examination after US short-seller Hindenburg Research accused the Adani Group of accounting fraud and market manipulation, causing its market valuation to plummet by more than $100 billion.
Adani Group has always disputed the allegations.
According to filings from the firms, Ambuja Cements Ltd. and Adani Green Energy Ltd., “to uphold the principles of good corporate governance, the management of Adani group entities are considering the appointment of independent firms/agencies” to look into issues such as regulatory compliance around related party transactions and internal controls, among others. “Management will evaluate the appropriate actions if any.”
The Adani Ports guideline “may alleviate concerns about the firm’s liquidity and debt, but governance and regulatory problems are likely to persist,” according to Bloomberg Intelligence analyst Sharon Chen. “As free cash flows have been designated for debt repayment, this might also provide assurance that it would not considerably expand related-party loans to sustain the remainder of the business.”
The Adani conglomerate’s listed firms, which were forced to halt a $2.5 billion share sale by its flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. last week after a short seller’s allegations triggered a massive stock rout, have begun reporting December quarter earnings this week as investors look for clues on the robustness of the companies operations.
Adani Ports reported a 16% reduction in profit to 13.2 billion rupees in the most recent quarter, falling short of analysts’ expectations of around 15 billion rupees. Revenue increased 18% year on year to 47.9 billion rupees but fell short of expectations. Capital spending for the fiscal year beginning in April is expected to range between 40 and 45 billion rupees.
Profit at Adani Green Energy, one of the conglomerate’s most leveraged companies, more than doubled to 1.03 billion rupees, up from 490 million rupees in the previous quarter. Total income increased 54% to 22.6 billion rupees, while total costs increased 45%, according to an exchange filing. The renewables company is on schedule to complete 8,300 megawatts of capacity by the end of the year.
Ambuja Cements, the larger of the two local cement companies that Adani Group purchased from Holcim Ltd. last year, reported a higher-than-expected quarterly profit of 3.69 billion rupees, up 46% from the previous year. According to a separate report, revenue increased by 10% and met projections at 41.3 billion rupees.
The cement manufacturer is debt-free and anticipates “cement demand to further improve in coming quarters on the strength of increased infrastructure activity,” according to its Chief Executive Officer, Ajay Kapur.
Adani Transmission Ltd., the only other group firm to have disclosed its results so far, reported an earnings beat on Monday, with net income increasing by 78%.