Till January 23, Gautam Adani was the third-richest man in the world. Today, he is ranked 16th globally.
Reliance Industries chairman Mukesh Ambani overtook his arch-rival and Adani Group chief Gautam Adani to become the richest person in India, according to Forbes real-time billionaires’ list.
Ambani overtook the Adani Group chairman after his assets surged by 0.19 per cent while Adani’s wealth plunged by 4.6 per cent to USD84.1 billion on January 31.
With a net worth of USD83 billion, Ambani was ranked 10 on the list of the world’s richest individuals while Adani stood at 16th position with a net worth of USD67.4 billion on Thursday.
The dramatic fall in Adani’s fortunes has been marked by a series of allegations and counter-allegations between his port-to-energy conglomerate and US-based financial research firm Hindenburg Research over the latter’s damning report.
Adani was the world’s third wealthiest man with assets worth USD120 billion when Hindenburg published its report on January 24. In its lengthy report, the New York-based short seller accused the Adani Group of “pulling the largest con in corporate history”.
It accused Adani Group companies of “stock manipulation” and “accounting fraud”. The report resulted in a bloodbath in Mumbai stock exchanges, with shares of the majority of the companies tanking by around 20 per cent in a single trading session.
Investors have lost billions of dollars due to mayhem created by the research report which raised 88 questions on the corporation functioning of Adani Group companies.
Just three days after the report, Adani slipped to seventh position in the list of the world’s richest persons on January 27 as offloading of shares of his companies continued unabated. His assets were pegged at USD96.5 billion on Friday, according to Forbes.
In September last year, he surpassed Amazon founder Jeff Bezos to briefly become the second-richest person in the world with a net worth of around USD150 billion. He held the third spot for quite some time and was pushed to the fourth spot on January 24, when Hindenburg Research published its report.
“Key listed Adani companies have also taken on substantial debt, including pledging shares of their inflated stock for loans, putting the entire group on precarious financial footing,” the firm said, adding that it published the report a 2-year investigation.
The report claimed that Adani amassed USD100 billion of his wealth in the last three years even as the countrymen suffered economic woes caused by the Covid-19 pandemic. Shares of the listed Adani Group companies shot up by an average of 819 per cent during that period.
The Hindenburg Research report further claimed that key listed companies of the Adani Group have taken on “substantial debt, including pledging shares of their inflated stock for loans, putting the entire group on precarious financial footing”.
The group has announced to sue the US firm for its “maliciously mischievous, unresearched” report. “We are evaluating the relevant provisions under US and Indian laws for remedial and punitive action against Hindenburg Research,” the group said on January 26.
The Adani Group released a detailed statement, answering Hindenburg’s allegations. However, the firm later said it stands by its allegations and asked the group to answer its pointed questions.