Gautam Adani dropped from the top 10 richest in the world after the Hindenburg Report

Almost a week after a dreaded short seller placed his company, Gautam Adani is just a few billion dollars away from loss of his title as the richest man in Asia.

As of January 30, Adani, chairman of the Adani Group, is now the 11th richest person in the world, with a fortune of $84.4 billion according to The Bloomberg Billionaires Index. That’s a big drop from the $121 billion fortune he estimated he had at the beginning of the year (which puts Adani in third place, behind LVMH CEO Bernard Arnault and Tesla CEO Elon Musk).

Worse, fellow Indian industrialist Mukesh Ambani, chairman of the Reliance Industries, is behind Adani in 12th place, with a fortune of $82.2 billion. If Adani’s wealth continues to slide, he risks losing the position of Asia’s richest man to Ambani.

The two Indian billionaires are rivals, competing in sectors like strength, consumer goods, mediaand even cricket.

Rise and fall

Adani’s wealth increased in 2022 due to the increase in the share price of Adani Group companies. Shares of commodities trader Adani Enterprises, the Group’s flagship company, rose more than 225% in 2022, while shares of Adani Power rose 300% over the same period.

The drop in Adani’s net worth follows the release last week of a 100-page report from Hindenburg Research. The short seller accused the Adani Group for stock manipulation, mismanagement, and “pulling the biggest deal in corporate history.”

Shares in the Adani companies have fallen since then, disappearing $75 billion in value.

Adani Enterprises is currently in the middle of a $2.5 billion share sale, which is set to close today. On Monday, share trading gained a vote of support from Abu Dhabi’s International Holding Company, which agreed to invest $400 million.

A calculated attack on India’

The battle between Adani Group and Hindenburg Research quickly turned into a debate about India itself.

Hindenburg’s report was “not just an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the story of growth and India’s ambition,” Adani Group wrote in its 413-page response on Sunday.

The short seller on Wall Street gave a fiery rebuttal the next dayarguing that “the Adani Group has tried to combine its meteoric rise and the wealth of its Chairman, Gautam Adani, with the success of India itself.”

“India’s future is being held back by the Adani Group, which has draped itself in the Indian flag while systematically robbing the country,” WRITES the company, which maintains that the Adani Group failed to provide specific answers to most of its questions, instead offering only “general deflections.”

Adani Group’s fears are dragging down other Indian companies. Shares of the state-owned Life Insurance Company of India, which has a major stake in Adani Enterprises, have fallen nearly 7% since the release of Hindenburg’s report.

It is even knocked in India from its place as the fifth most valuable equity market in the world, falling behind France on Monday.

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