Adani-Hindenburg row: DLF chairman on how he dealt with ‘blackmailers’ 15 years ago

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DLF Chairman KP Singh Said that what the Adani group is facing with Hindenburg Research is something it faced before the real estate firm’s IPO 15 years ago.

Singh told PTI how a decade-and-a-half ago when DLF was coming out with an IPO, a Canadian company had threatened to bring a report.

“We said push (to the Canadian firm)… do whatever you can,” he said.

Singh said Gautam Adani’s business empire is in turmoil after the US short seller’s allegations have not shaken global investors’ confidence in India and dismissed suggestions that the banks had acted on instructions from higher officials. But must have lent to Adani group.

The Hindenburg report, which covers alleged accounting fraud and stock manipulation in the Adani group, came as a follow-on share sale of Rs 20,000 crore by Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship firm.

On the Adani-Hindenburg dispute affecting India’s attractiveness as an investment destination, he said, “Complete nonsense.” “India is a very big country today. So this story will die. Investment will not be harmed. He said Modi is “an intelligent and dynamic person” and that “India will remain an attractive destination as long as he remains prime minister”.

The port-to-airport group has denied all the allegations, calling them ‘malicious’, ‘baseless’ and a ‘planned attack on India’.

Listed firms of the Adani group lost nearly USD 125 billion in market value in the three weeks following the report. Some recovery has been seen in the last few days.

While the group’s rapid expansion – from cement to hydrogen and data centres, has been fueled largely by debt financing, Singh, who is now DLF’s chairman emeritus, suggested that banks chose Adani because of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s behest. Lend money to the group. It was foolish to do so.

What does the Prime Minister have to do with this (lending money to corporates)? No banker, no matter what the Prime Minister says, will give money unless it is justified,” he said.

“I have no idea about Adani, but if anyone today thinks that bankers will give (loans) with a call from the Prime Minister, they are living in a fool’s world. No banker would do this.” Citing the example of former ICICI Bank CEO Chanda Kochhar, who was arrested for irregularities in lending to the Videocon group, he asked, “Will any banker do anything that is in line with the rules? Do not be Rule? No, they won’t.” Opposition parties used the Hindenburg report to attack the government, alleging that Modi helped the rise of the Adani group.

The Prime Minister has not named Adani since the Hindenburg Report crisis, but earlier this month he told Parliament that “the blessings of 140 crore people in the country are my shield and you cannot destroy it with lies”. And abuses.

Singh said Modi need not reply and should continue with his work.

“So many dogs bark, he shouldn’t answer that.” The system will take care. They will leave. He should keep doing what he is doing.

On the troubles faced by Adani Group, he said that entrepreneurs are risk takers but it is always smart to strike a balance between equity and debt.

Adani’s rival Mukesh Ambani has done a smart job of balancing debt by bringing in equity investors in the businesses.

“Every businessman goes through this. In your zeal for growth, you get loaned. (But) balance debt with equity. And grow again,” he said, trying to get Adani to do so through the FPO of Adani Enterprises.

Adani Group has said that its debt of Rs 1.96 lakh crore till September 2022 was balanced with the assets held by it and the revenue generated by all businesses.

Always maintain a healthy balance between equity and debt. At present, huge debt is visible on Adani. So I wish them all the best, I don’t know but eventually they will have to raise their capital.

A “crazy nut” and an aging “barking dog” is how real estate doyen Singh described billionaire financier George Soros, who sparked outrage in India after the Adani-Hindenburg upheaval that brought Prime Minister Narendra Modi to power. But the grip got weak.

“When you do something nice, so many dogs bark. Do you respond to each dog? No. Dogs bark but calm down after some time,” he said. On comments made by Soros at the Munich Security Conference, he said, “The truth of the matter is that when you rise up others try to pull you down.” “She’s a raving lunatic, completely,” he said. “Though he is younger than me. I am 93 (and he is 92) but at that age, by nature, there is sometimes confused thinking,” he said in an hour-long interview with PTI.

With inputs from PTI

Read also: Hindenburg-influenced Adani Group’s credit facilities are sending chills across ESG markets, says report

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