Vinod Adani is part of promoter group of listed entities: Adani enterprises
The Gautam Adani group has finally acknowledged that Vinod Adani — elder brother of the troubled tycoon who is believed to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — is part of the promoter group of “various listed entities” belonging to the Ahmedabad-based conglomerate.
The acknowledgment was extracted from Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship, after vigorous denials of any dodgy business dealings or links with the 74-year-old, UAE-based elder sibling.
After the explosive Hindenburg Research report came out on January 24, the Gautam Adani group had claimed in a rebuttal that “Vinod Adani does not hold any managerial position in any Adani-listed entities or their subsidiaries and has no role in their day-to-day affairs. We are not in a position to comment… on the business dealings and transactions of Mr. Vinod Adani.”
It insisted that it had always maintained an “arm’s length” relationship with the elder brother.
“Arm’s length” is an expression used in the Companies Act 2013 to define “a transaction between two related parties that is conducted as if they were unrelated, so that there is no conflict of interest”.
That position quickly became untenable after revelations in the past few days that Vinod Adani was the real owner of cement companies Ambuja Cement and ACC. The two companies were acquired last year from the Holcim group in a $6.5-billion deal. “We would like to submit that Gautam Adani and Rajesh Adani are individual promoters of various listed entities within the Adani group and Vinod Adani is an immediate relative of the individual promoters,” the group’s flagship Adani Enterprises said in a stock exchange filing on Thursday.
In line with the applicable Indian regulations, “Vinod Adani is part of the ‘promoter group’ of various listed entities within the Adani group”. At no point in the recent past had the Gautam Adani group admitted that filial links were enough to pull anyone into the promoter cabal under existing regulations.
The Gautam Adani group’s claim of an arm’s length relationship with elder brother Vinod had looked decidedly wobbly after Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed in a recent broadside against the Modi government that several senior executives of Adani Enterprises had been appointed to key positions at the two cement makers after the acquisition.
The climb-down on Thursday marked a dramatic turnaround from the position the Adani group had taken in a 413-page rebuttal of the US short-seller Hindenburg Research’s accusations. Hindenburg Research had claimed that Vinod Adani had funnelled funds to the Gautam Adani group through a labyrinth of 38 Mauritius-based shell entities.
The US-based short-seller also said that it had identified entities that were “surreptitiously controlled” by Vinod Adani in Cyprus, the UAE, Singapore and several Caribbean islands. The elder sibling is widely reported to be working out of Dubai. Regulatory filings show he is a Cypriot national. “We reiterate that any transactions by the Adani portfolio companies with any related party have been duly identified and disclosed as related party transactions in compliance with Indian laws and standard and have been carried out on arm’s length terms,” the Adani group had said in its rebuttal.
When the Adani group bought Holcim AG’s stake in Ambuja Cements and ACC, the deal was clinched by a Mauritius-based entity called Endeavour Trade and Investment. In the latest filing, the Adani group said the fact that Vinod Adani was part of the promoter group had been submitted to Indian regulatory authorities from time to time. “Further, the fact that Endeavour Trade and Investment Limited (an entity controlled by Vinod Adani), the acquirer of ACC Limited and Ambuja Cements Limited, belongs to the Adani group has been disclosed in the public offer document,” it added.