IDEAS for the Adani Group to move Forward

Mundra Port. 2018 pic by author.
  • Article has 14 Ideas for the Adani Group. For each group company know the Debt Equity ratio and names of Prominent Independent Directors.

The Adani Group (AG) is in the news for the wrong reasons. First, the Follow up Public Offer of their flagship company, Adani Enterprises, received a poor response from retail investors, allegations in the Hindenburg report, crash in the prices of group company shares, related noise in Parliament and now Supreme Court has got involved too.


The first two articles in this series were Ideas for the AG to deal with the H report and What is Green Hydrogen


So what must the AG do now and what is the way forward?


Neither am I a management Guru nor an expert on their businesses. Yet in all humility here this C.A. offers some suggestions.

At the outset must disclose that as on 19/2/23 I hold 90 shares of Adani Power, 225 shares of Adani Ports and 65 shares of Adani Wilmar. Further, I have no interest or association with the AG.


1.  Increase the number of retail investors

In hindsight, one of the reasons for Dhirubhai Ambani’s success in the capital markets was his popularity with retail shareholders. The company’s annual general meetings were held in a maidan (ground) and very well attended, referring to the 1980’s. 


Ordinary shareholders gained significantly by investing in the Reliance Industries Limited (RIL) stock. Whatever else can be attributed to the Ambanis they rarely let the shareholders down. Ordinary people made lots of money. Profits on sale were used to buy a house, get a child married etc. 


Spiritually speaking, the Ambanis then were blessed by those who benefitted. This aashirwad contributed to their ability to cope with the ups and downs of business.


Conversely, the AG does not seem to have such a large retail shareholder family. See table 1.   

Table 1-Shareholding % of Adani Group Companies as of December 2022                                                     

Name of Company

Promoter %


B %

Out of B held by Non-Institutions

1.Adani Transmission




2. Adani Total Gas




3. Adani Green Energy




4. Adani Ports




5. Adani Enterprises AE




6. Adani Wilmar




7. Adani Power





8.RelianceIndustries Ltd




Source Promoter % of shareholding (B) includes Indian and Foreign Promoter. Table excludes Ambuja Cements, ACC and NDTV since they were acquired in 2022.


Promoter shareholding in every Adani group company is 60% plus. Conversely, RIL figure is 49.11%. One reason why RIL % could be lower is because RIL has not issued shares to its partners. 

Note that as per out of the total promoter shareholding shown above, the Indian promoter shareholding, as on December 2022 for companies 1 to 7 above, are in percentage terms 65.40, 37.40, 54.22, 46.7563.99, 43.97 and 46.64 respectively. One needs to look at the composition of the Non-promoter percentage number.


NYU professor Damodaran wrote, “Consolidating across the Adani companies, it looks like the family owns about 73% of the outstanding equity. In fact, it is common knowledge that the Adani Group has grown, with a disproportionate dependence on debt, and that the rise in stock prices in the last two years has worked to the family's advantage, as it considers selling some of its ownership stake to raise fresh capital.”


Give up this fetish for control. Take the Maruti approach. As long as the size of the pie grows i.e. market size (sales volume for vehicles) do not worry about falling market share because sales volumes are going up.


Spiritually speaking, the More we Share the More we Grow (eSamskriti motto). Reduce group shareholding by selling shares to the public. This will also help the AG reduce dependence on debt.


2.  Focus on existing businesses, making profits and repaying loans.

When time is not on your side lie low, the tide will turn. What goes down comes up again, i.e. the cycle of life. Compare Sensex of 2008 (post Lehman Crisis in the West) and 2023.


3.  What happens if Gautam Adani gives up his body tomorrow?

Although some may not ask this question so openly, it might be a worry for shareholders. Let your second and third lines of management be more visible to the public. Succession Planning, when known, will enhance confidence in the AG.


4. Do not allow the present controversy to deter the AG from businesses of Green Hydrogen and Renewable Energy. These are critical to the Indian economy and tackling climate change crisis. This work is for global good, benefit of humanity so must continue. 


In this video George Soros spoke about dangers of climate change. He should be loving the AG for its plans in green hydrogen! 


Also read article in Scientific American Why climate change will fail without India


5.  Do not involve the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in your battle (they have many to fight in 2023 and 2024 Lok Sabha polls). This is your fight for evolution and survival.


Re-election of Modi as Chief Minister or Prime Minister always attracts undue attention. 2024 would be no different. Perhaps, the fight will be fiercer with more international intervention.


Instead of spending positive energy on what Soros said, this BJP government must pass laws that give Hindus equal human rights.


6. If not done so already, you need a Political Advisor who understands and tracks domestic and global politics. Those in the infrastructure-nation building activity and growing rapidly, might invariably be a target of attack.


Countries or business groups that are rising shall always be under attack. Never underestimate your opponents. Always think of pro-active ways to counter them. Transparency is one way.  


7. Realize the AG can achieve in one generation, what Dhirubhai and Mukesh Ambani have collectively achieved so far, at huge risks and cost.


Slow down the pace. 2024 is not the end of the world.


8.  No grandstanding with big announcements like pledging to grow 100 million trees by 2030.


Execute quietly like done so in the Ports business. Inform stakeholders continuously. Use the power of pictures and technology to communicate.


9. For each company referred to in the table 1 certain key data should be placed in public domain (newspaper articles or advertorials). Transparency prevents spread of misinformation. 


10.  Stop giving advertisements to any media house that refers to Gautam Adani being the richest or 20th richest man in the world. This invites envy and negative energy.


See how Arvind Kejriwal has cultivated the media even if the means are incorrect.

There is more to India than the Taj.

11. Your communication team should counter rumours and wrongful understanding of your businesses on a daily basis.


Now that you own NDTV, use it to communicate your point of view. Do it smartly, with disclosures, like done by CNBCTV18. 


Use pictures of completed projects to showcase your project execution skills (eSamskriti has over 17,000 pictures that showcase India).  


12. Possible Short selling needs investigation

A Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI- regulator) 2007 paper explains the short selling framework. (MD/DoP/SE/Dept/Cir-14/2007 dated December 20 is a circular issued by SEBI).

Ascertain if there were any short sellers, their identity and benefiaries of the sharp fall in the AG prices. Check for international linkages. Assumes importance after George Soros video  For a short video here And Who is George Soros?

For the benefit of readers, “Short selling means a person sells shares that he does not possess. He may use a margin trading account with his broker with the hope that he may profit from drop in share price. Alternatively, he may borrow securities from the market in the SLS.” This is a market tool used by the market players who are popularly referred to as bears. They sell in anticipation of fall in prices of shares. Sometimes, the fall in share prices may be artificially induced too.  


Sometimes I wonder if we Indians are too sensitive to international criticism and over-critical of ourselves. We are forever defending instead of pointing out the hypocrisy in others (Dr Jaishankar is changing that).


Hear Dr Jaishankar’s response to George Soros video


In the same tone, why do we accept a foreign authored research report as gospel! 

So also we will recall the great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie but rarely recall his dark side. But if Andrew were Indian we might see  only the dark side. 

13. The sharp drop in share prices has painted all Adani Group Companies with the same brush (see table 2).


Please note that the share prices of Adani Ports, Power and Wilmar on 17/2/23 are above their 52 week lows and their IPO price of Rs 440, Rs, 100 and Rs 230 respectively. In fact, a couple of years ago Adani Ports did a buy back @ Rs 500/. 

 Table 2-Share price of Adani Group Companies as on Feb 17, 23 in Rs                                                   

Name of Company


52  High



1.Adani Transmission




2. Adani Total Gas




3. Adani Green Energy




4. Adani Ports




5. Adani Enterprises AE




6. Adani Wilmar




7. Adani Power




Source-HDFC Securities. Table above excludes Ambuja Cements, ACC and Ndtv since they were acquired in 2022. 


Since the prices of some companies rose to unreasonable heights let the regulator investigate. It shall enhance investor confidence.  


14.  Prominent Independent and Non-Executive Directors in Adani Group Companies. I visited company websites on 18.2.23 at 6.30 pm and found-


Adani Ports

1. N Rao - former Foreign Affairs Secretary.

2. G K Pillai - former Home Secretary.

Adani Wilmar  

1. CA Madhu Rao.

Adani Gas

1. Shailesh Haribhakti – senior Chartered Accountant

2. Shashi Shanker – former Chairman and MD of ONGC.

Adani Green Energy

1. Dinesh Kanabar - one of India’s top tax advisors.

2. R S Gujral – former Finance Secretary.

Adani Transmission

1. K Jairaj - ex Indian Administrative Service.

2. Meera Shanker - ex Indian Foreign Service 

Adani Enterprises

1. Dr Omkar Goswami – professional economist.

2. Hemant Nerurkar – ex Tata Steel Managing Director.


Would these learned and respectable professionals risk their reputation by agreeing to be on the Board of these companies?


Debt Equity Ratio of Adani Group companies

Table 3-Debt Equity Ratio as on 31 March 2022-Adani Group                                                    

Name of Company

March 22

1.Adani Transmission


2. Adani Total Gas


3. Adani Green Energy


4. Adani Ports


5. Adani Enterprises AE


6. Adani Wilmar


7. Adani Power

1.66 Table above excludes Ambuja Cements, ACC and Ndtv since they were acquired in 2022. 


The debt equity ratios of Adani Green Energy and Transmission are high. Excluding these two, are the ratios for other group companies a cause for serious concern? The above ratios, I asssume are based on audited March 2022 numbers. Audit for current year will commence after 31/3/23.   


Let the Supreme Court form an expert committee with members of its choice. As an optimist I believe something good comes out of every experience. Hope the committee submits its report in a pre-agreed time frame. Delays could adversely affect investor confidence and compel banks to invest in 100% secure government securities.  

 Author Monika Hallan wrote 'Judicial rush to save investors is misplaced' in the Hindustan Times, “On March 4, 2020 the SC set aside the RBI notice opening the door on cryto exchanges in India. The judgment cost Indian investors thousands of crores in events that played out subsequently.”

Also read Any structure to prevent market crashes shall stifle free market forces


Author is a senior Chartered Accountant ex Hindustan Levers. Errors, if any are unintended. Do mail with sources, and if found admissible, shall gladly correct the errors.


Also read by author

1. An Open letter to Arnab Goswami     

2. The AMUL way or the MSP way

3. How the BJP can affect change

4. Ideas how India can realize potential

5. Constitutional Issues arising out of the telecom Essar judgements


Links to Ratios of Adani Group Companies 

1. Adani Power

2. Adani Wilmar

3. Adani Transmission

4. Adani Gas

5. Adani Green Energy

6. Adani Ports

7. Adani Enterprises

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