India’s Adani loses Asia’s richest tag after fraud allegations, stock crash
New Delhi, Feb 1 (EFE).- Indian billionaire Gautam Adani, chairman of the multinational conglomerate Adani Group, on Wednesday lost his spot as Asia’s richest man, after a week of heavy losses on the stock market triggered by allegations of manipulating the market.
Adani, with a fortune now valued at $84.2 billion, dropped to the second place among Asia’s richest after losing another $4 billion on Wednesday according to the Forbes list, behind another Indian Mukesh Ambani, who heads the Reliance Industries group and has a net worth of $84.4 billion.
The stock market losses also took Adani down to the 10th place in the Forbes real-time list of the world’s wealthiest individuals, down from the 8th spot on Tuesday.
The Adani Group has been under unprecedented pressure over the past week, amid a massive follow-on public offer (FPO) of flagship firm Adani Enterprises that was initially expected to raise $.25 billion in one of the largest-ever listings in Indian markets.
However, the FPO was quickly overshadowed by a report by New York-based short seller Hindenburg Research that alleged massive corporate fraud by the conglomerate spread over decades, just two-days before the scheduled listing.
With its stock-price plummeting from the opening day the group had to go on the defensive to keep the three-day FPO afloat, although it closed on Tuesday with all the shares sold.
However, the group stocks continue to trade in red and the listing raised much less than the initial estimates.
A week of losses has cost around $42 billion the firms owned by Adani, who was ranked the third-richest individual in the world until eight days ago.
The Adani Group, which includes multinational companies spread across the industrial and energy sector, was founded by Gautam Adani in 1988 as a trading company that soon expanded into import and export of goods, and later developed its own ports.
The conglomerate began a meteoric rise in 2014, coinciding with the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who has been openly backed and praised by Adani. The businessman’s net worth quickly rose from around $2.4 billion to over $80 billion in this period.
The group’s recent acquisition of local news broadcaster NDTV, hailed by Modi’s opponents as the last major independent media houses of the country, has been seen as a political move by Adani to boost the image of the Indian prime minister and curb dissent ahead of the 2024 general elections. EFE