Adani prepays $2.15 bn loans as MSCI ESG raters flag governance risks

By Reuters

  • 13 Mar 2023
Adani prepays $2.15 bn loans as MSCI ESG raters flag governance risks
Credit: Reuters

Adani Group said it had completed full prepayment of margin-linked share-backed financing worth $2.15 billion as part of its debt prepayment plan, before its deadline of March 31.

The Gautam Adani-owned conglomerate also prepaid a $500 million facility it had taken for Ambuja acquisition financing, it said in a statement on Sunday, adding that the payment comes in continuation of promoters' commitment to repay the leverage.

"This is in line with promoters' commitment to increase (the) equity contribution and promoters have now infused $2.6 billion out of (a) total acquisition value of $6.6 billion for Ambuja and ACC," the statement said.


Adani Group last year acquired Holcim AG's cement businesses in India – Ambuja Cements and ACC Ltd – for $10.5 billion, its largest-ever acquisition.

Adani's latest move comes as the group seeks to rebuild investor confidence and allay concerns about its debt by pre-paying loans in the aftermath of a scathing report by U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research.

Hindenburg's report alleged stock manipulation and improper use of tax havens, and flagged "substantial" debt levels, which the group has denied.


Gautam Adani and his family have prepaid all borrowings backed by his conglomerate Adani Group's shares, senior executives told investors at a meeting in London, Bloomberg News reported last week.

Governance risks

MSCI ESG Research said on Friday it recently changed some of its environmental, social and governance assessments of Adani Group entities, after the Indian conglomerate was caught up in a short-selling storm in recent weeks.


Seven listed Adani Group companies lost over $100 billion in market value combined after a Jan. 24 report by Hindenburg Research alleged stock manipulation and improper use of tax havens, and flagged concerns over debt levels. Adani has rejected the concerns and denied any wrongdoing.

"On March 3, we downgraded our assessment of the Hindenburg-related controversy cases to 'moderate' from 'minor' following new developments in the relevant cases," MSCI ESG Research said in a statement to Reuters.

It said the downgrade and resulting score changes did not lead to any changes in overall ESG Ratings of each company.


Entities rated by MSCI ESG Research include Adani Green Energy, Adani Power, Adani Total Gas, Adani Transmission and Adani Enterprises, according to the statement.

This week, MSCI ESG Research flagged all its covered Adani Group entities for the metric of accounting investigations, while some were flagged for the securities valuations metric, it said.

MSCI's ESG Controversies scoring and flagging system alerts investors to potential reputational risks, according to a factsheet produced by the agency.


"Across various Adani Group entities, MSCI ESG Research has identified issues relating to governance, board independence, related party transactions, and controlling shareholders," the company said.

Since the short-seller report release, MSCI ESG Research has added "Bribery and Fraud" and "Governance Structures" controversy cases to all Adani Group companies in its coverage, it said.

Adani Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment sent outside of business hours.

Company representatives have met fixed-income investors over the past two weeks in an international roadshow.

Sustainability ratings company Sustainalytics downgraded corporate governance-related scores for some Adani Group companies last month.

MSCI ESG Research said on Friday it was closely monitoring developments in the Adani case, "including any associated potential launch of regulator-driven investigations or any ongoing developments related to governance structures, audit and accounting practices."

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