Shares of Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone (APSEZ) climbed nearly 3% in early trade on Monday after Rajiv Jain-led GQG Partners increased its stake in the port and logistics arm of billionaire Gautam Adani-led Adani Group company. The U.S.-based boutique investment firm bought 22.56 lakh additional shares of the company through bulk deal on August 17, 2023, raising its stake in APSEZ from 4.93% to 5.03%, as per the exchange data.

Boosted by the development, shares of Adani Ports gained as much as 2.63% to ₹857.85 in the first hour of trade so far on the BSE. Early today, the APSEZ shares opened 1% higher at ₹844.25 against the previous closing price of ₹835.85. The market capitalisation rose by 5 lakh crore to ₹1.85 lakh crore.

The development came a day after Rajiv Jain-led fund picked up an 8.1% stake in Adani Power in the largest single-day equity deal in the Indian stock market. The investment firm acquired 31.2 crore equity shares of Adani Power for more than ₹9,000 crore ($1.1 billion) in a series of block deals on August 16.

GQG currently owns stakes in five of the 10 Adani Group firms -- Adani Enterprises, Adani Ports, Adani Green Energy, Adani Transmission, renamed as Adani Energy Solutions, and Adani Power.

GQG has been continuously investing in Adani Group companies since Hindenburg Research’s critical report on the conglomerate came out on January 24, 2023. The report triggered sell-off in group shares resulting in a huge market loss for most of the listed entities. In March this year, the firm acquired minority stakes in four of the listed Adani Group companies - AEL, APSEZ, AGEL, and ATL. In June, this was followed by additional stake buying in the group’s flagship Adani Enterprises and renewable energy firm Adani Green Energy by 1.6% and 2.2%, respectively. The American equity investment firm has proposed to participate in the group’s future fundraising activities, terming it "the best infrastructure assets available in India".

The investment comes days after Deloitte quit as auditor of APSEZ after raising concerns over transactions between Adani Ports and three entities that Adani said were unrelated parties. On August 12, Adani Ports informed the exchanges that its board of directors, based on the audit committee's recommendation, accepted the resignation of Deloitte Haskins & Sells LLP, who tendered their resignation from the position of statutory auditors of the company and its material subsidiaries. Deloitte has been replaced by MSKA & Associates, an independent member firm of BDO International, as the statutory auditors of the company, subject to the shareholders’ approval. 

Earlier this month, Adani Ports released its June quarter earnings report, delivering its strongest-ever quarterly operating performance. It reported an 80% jump in its net profit at ₹2,119 crore in Q1FY24 compared to ₹1,177 crore in the corresponding period last year on the back of the highest-ever quarterly port cargo volumes. The revenue from operations increased 24% year-on-year to ₹6,248 crore from ₹5,058 crore in the year-ago period. 

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