Indian billionaire Gautam Adani on Wednesday lost his position as Asia’s richest person, as shares of his listed companies slide further while his empire fights allegations of serious fraud made by U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research.
- As of Wednesday afternoon in India, Adani’s net worth has shrunk by another $13 billion, according to Forbes’ real-time tracker, causing him to drop down to 15th on the list of the world’s richest people after starting the day in eighth place.
- With an estimated net worth of $83.8 billion, India’s Mukesh Ambani moved to ninth on the list, overtaking his compatriot as Asia’s richest person.
- Ambani is the chairperson of the conglomerate Reliance Industries, which has interests in petrochemicals, oil, gas, telecom and retail.
- Despite its follow-on public offering getting fully subscribed on Tuesday—with backing from Middle Eastern institutional investors—the Adani Group’s flagship Adani Enterprises nosedived by 28.2% on Wednesday.
- The conglomerate’s six other major listed firms—Adani Ports, Adani Wilmar, Adani Power, Adani Transmission, Adani Green Energy and Adani Total Gas—were also in the red.
At the time of publishing, Forbes estimates Adani’s net worth to be $75.1 billion, down $13 billion on Wednesday. Since Hindenburg Research made its allegations public last week, Adani has dropped from third spot on our list of the world’s richest and has seen his fortune shrink by more than $50 billion.
Despite both being at the helm of massive conglomerates with varied interests, billionaires Ambani and Adani have for years avoided a direct clash. While Ambani’s Reliance has grown into a behemoth in telecom, media and retail, Adani has mostly focused on infrastructure, transport and energy distribution. Over the past few years, however, both have tried to pivot toward green energy, raising the possibility of a market overlap in which they may be forced to compete with each other.
Last week, Hindenburg disclosed a short position against Adani Group’s listed companies and published a report accusing the company of engaging in “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades.” The Adani Group has vehemently denied the allegations, calling them “maliciously mischievous and un-researched,” and has threatened legal action. In a 413-page rebuttal of Hindenburg’s allegations, the company labeled them as not “merely an unwarranted attack on any specific company but a calculated attack on India” and its growth story. Hindenburg, however, dismissed the statement accusing the Adani Group of draping itself in the Indian flag “while systematically looting the nation.”