People with knowledge of the situation said that TotalEnergies SE is in discussions to invest in renewable energy projects created by Adani Green Energy Ltd. This could be the first public transaction between the French oil giant and Gautam Adani since a short-seller accused the Indian billionaire’s business empire of fraud.
According to the people, who requested anonymity because the talks are private, Total is looking to purchase interests in some of Adani Green’s projects as part of its effort to increase its portfolio of sustainable energy projects. One of the persons indicated that the French group may contribute a total of $700 million to the projects.
The person claimed that a transaction is uncertain and that discussions are still ongoing. Adani and Total representatives declined to comment.
The agreement will provide Adani Green with more resources to create new renewable energy projects while expanding Total’s footprint in the rapidly expanding Indian energy sector. Additionally, according to statistics collated by Bloomberg, Total would strengthen its relations with Adani Green, of which it is now the second largest stakeholder with a 19.75% interest.
In an effort to appease shareholders who have been calling for increased steps to combat climate change, Total has regularly teamed with Adani as the French conglomerate aims to increase its output of sustainable energy. That goal aligns with India’s goals to reduce its dependency on coal and oil and achieve a net-zero carbon nation by 2070.
To acquire a 37.4% share in Adani Gas Ltd., currently known as Adani Total Gas, Total spent $600 million in 2019. In a $2.5 billion deal that was one of the biggest foreign investments in India, it acquired a 20% share in Adani Green as well as a 50% interest in some of the solar farms that Adani Green was operating at the time.
The investment in Adani Green paid off handsomely for Total as its value increased to $10 billion in 2022, the year Chief Executive Officer Patrick Pouyanne referred to the share as “a source of potential cash.” The two were seeking to collaborate and finance green hydrogen development projects worth billions of dollars in India.
But after Hindenburg Research charged the Adani Group with “brazen” accounting fraud and market manipulation earlier this year, Total shelved a scheme to create $5 billion worth of green hydrogen projects with Adani Enterprises Ltd. The short seller’s accusations were vehemently refuted by the Adani Group.
Since the short-seller report, Adani’s stocks and bonds have recovered some of their losses, especially after the company got funding from GQG Partners, and an interim report from a panel established by the Indian Supreme Court in May concluded that there was no proof of stock-price manipulation. The tycoon’s business incubator, Adani Enterprises, said that its earnings increased by a factor of two to 7.22 billion rupees ($87 million) in the three months that ended in March.
Adani Green stated in July that it intended to offer shares to institutional investors in order to raise 123 billion rupees to finance expansion.