With this strategy, Adani’s ports-to-power conglomerate – once Asia’s richest person – hopes to reclaim the narrative and reassure nervous investors and lenders.

Almost a month after a bombshell short seller report slashed Gautam Adani’s empire’s market value by $132 billion, the Indian billionaire has hired top-tier US crisis communication and legal teams, canceled a $850 million coal plant purchase, cut expenses, repaid some debt, and promises to repay more.

The ports-to-power conglomerate led by Adani once Asia’s richest person is attempting to reclaim the narrative and reassure nervous investors and lenders after US-based Hindenburg Research accused it of accounting fraud, stock manipulation, and other corporate governance issues on Jan. 24. These charges are denied by the Adani Group.

Since then, Adani and his associates have begun repairing the damage. Apart from a drive to present themselves as responsible borrowers with prepayments and on-time loan payments, officials have also begun a series of meetings to appease international bondholders, who have been tapped by the billionaire for more than $8 billion in finance in recent years.

Bloomberg News reported on Feb. 11 that the group has hired Kekst CNC as a worldwide communications advisor, reflecting the firm’s recognition of the seriousness of the damage to its reputation. The public relations agency, which has offices in both New York and Munich, is well-known for its work with other business meltdowns in recent years, such as WeWork Inc.’s value implosion in 2019.

An Adani Group spokeswoman did not immediately reply to a request for comment. Kekst declined to comment, while Wachtell did not reply to inquiries.

The measures demonstrate that “Adani, even after the stock market bloodbath, can still afford good lawyers,” according to Bhaskar Chakravorti, dean of Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Business. “As a global investor, I would have lingering concerns.”

His remarks underscore how the drama has spread beyond the company to put a shadow on India’s capacity to compete with China as an investment destination, prompting billionaire investor George Soros to speculate that it may even trigger a “democratic revival” in the country.

Apart from the narrative, investors are looking at two things: the group’s high leverage ratios and its capacity to produce cashflow after losing $2.5 billion in new money from the withdrew share offering.

Adani management has begun to address these issues. They told investors on a conference call Thursday that the objective is to reduce the group’s net debt to Ebitda ratio to less than three times next year, down from 3.2 times now, Bloomberg reported, citing individuals familiar with the situation.

Adani Power Ltd. has also cancelled a proposal to buy DB Power Ltd.’s coal plant project in central India, as part of the group’s general attempt to reduce capital spending and preserve cash.