Gautam Adani on Monday told shareholders that U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research's report was designed to damage the Adani group and erode the conglomerate’s “hard-earned” market value.

“We were faced with baseless accusations made by a foreign short-seller, that questioned our decades of hard work. In the face of an unprecedented attack on our integrity and reputation, we fought back and proved that no challenge could weaken the foundations on which your Group has been established,” Adani says at the annual general meeting of Adani Enterprises.

“Typical short sellers target gains from financial markets. This was different. It was a two-sided attack– a vague criticism of our financial standing and, at the same time, an information distortion campaign, dragging us into a political battlefield. The attack was a calculated strike two days before the closing of our follow-on public offer,” says Adani.

“Given the noise, despite successfully raising ₹20,000 crore through India’s largest ever FPO, we made the extraordinary decision to return the proceeds. This underscored our dedication to our investors and our commitment to ethical business practices,” the Adani group chairman says.

In this situation, where most companies would have gone under, Adani Group’s liquidity became its greatest asset, says Adani. “To further augment our cash reserves, we raised an additional ₹40,000 crore, comfortably covering the next two years of our debt repayment. This decisive action is a testimony to the great strength of your company. It restored market confidence – and we safeguarded our portfolio against any volatility by pre-paying ₹17,500 crore in margin-linked financing,” he adds.

“Despite never having faced any challenges with debt repayments, we chose to drop our debt to EBITDA ratio to 2.5x in just six months. It now stands even lower at 2.2x. This approach has not only strengthened our financial resilience but has also increased our headroom for future expansion,” Adani says.

“Our commitment to operational excellence and transparent disclosures was validated not only by rating agencies and the well-informed financial community, but also by respected global investors like GQG Partners, Total Energies, IHC, QIA and the US Development Finance Corporation – all of whom chose to invest in us,” says Adani.

Adani says the world is witnessing the rise of India. “This is India’s moment. We are now the force for stability, cooperation and progress in a complex world. And it is India’s macroeconomic stability and ambitious growth plans that inspire our confidence,” he says. Given the multiplier effect, the government of India has rightly focused on infrastructure development by raising its funding by 16% to over ₹11lakh crore for this financial year, he adds.

Earlier this month, the promoters of Adani Enterprises raised their stake in the flagship conglomerate to 73.95% by buying an additional 2.02% stake between September 8, 2023 and June 12, 2024.

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