About Adani Group
The Adani Group is a diversified conglomerate of companies headquartered in Ahmedabad, Gujarat. Gautam Adani, the founder of the group, had dropped out of college in the second year while pursuing a bachelor’s degree in commerce. Before, starting his business venture, he worked as a diamond sorter in Zaveri Bazaar, Mumbai. He formed the Adani Group in 1988 as a commodity trading enterprise, dealing in agricultural products and textiles, and has grown exponentially over the past decade to become India’s largest business conglomerate. The group has been known for its aggressive expansion and investment in various sectors. In the past few years, almost all companies in the group have experienced unfathomable growth with the conglomerate declaring its ambitions of creating the world’s largest renewable energy landscape with investments in solar power, wind power, green hydrogen, and other hybrid power sources. The main areas of its business include agribusiness, energy, logistics, real estate, and telecommunications. The group is known are known for its large-scale infrastructure projects including the development of ports, airports, power plants and data centres. The group has 10 key publicly listed equities with a collective market value of about INR 17.8 trillion (USD 218 billion) which also includes a maze of private companies and family trusts. Through their holdings, Gautam Adani and his family have a fortune of over USD 120 billion on paper, of which USD 100 billion was generated in the past 3 years owing to the meteoric appreciation of its stock prices.
Adani Group business
Some of the group’s key entities include –
- Adani Enterprises – The flagship company of the Adani Group, involved in multiple businesses such as mining, integrated resources management, airports, roads, rail, metro, water, data centres, solar manufacturing, agro and defence
- Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone – India’s largest port operator, with 12 ports and terminals across the country and SEZ which operates on the ports of Gujarat, Maharashtra and Karnataka
- Adani Power – India’s largest private power producer, with thermal power plants in Gujarat, Maharashtra and Rajasthan
- Adani Transmission – India’s largest private power transmission and distribution company
- Adani Green Energy – Development and operation of renewable energy projects such as solar power and wind power
- Adani Total Gas – Development of city gas distribution networks to supply piped natural gas to industrial, commercial, and residential customers, and also to supply CNG to the transport sector.
- Adani Wilmar – Joint venture with Wilmar International, the largest agribusiness conglomerate in the world, which produces and sells cooking oil, soya-based products and other edible items
- Adani Logistics – Provided logistics solutions for automotive, retail, and e-commerce industries, and also operates a network of warehouses and logistics hubs across India.
- Ambuja Cement – Leading cement manufacturing company in India, recently acquired by the group
- ACC – Leading manufacturer of cement and ready mixed concrete in India, recently acquired by the group
- NDTV – Leading television news channel in India, recently acquired by the group
The group operates the Mundra Port, the largest port in India and Adani Power, the largest thermal power producer in India. Additionally, the group has also expanded into other countries, including Australia, Indonesia, and the United States. In Australia, it operates the Carmichael coal mine and rail project in Queensland. Adani Group also owns franchises in Legends League Cricket and Women’s Premiere League. Thus, the Adani Group has not only grown leaps and bounds but also owns some of the strategically important assets of the country.
Controversies involving Adani Group
Adani Group has been involved in several controversies before.
- Gautam Adani has been described as a close aid to earlier the Gujarat Government and now the current Indian Government regime. The group has been accused of receiving low-cost fuel from Gujarat state-run gas company, and also of exceptions in Government’s energy policy for Adani’s Godda power plant in Jharkhand. There have been several key policy changes in the past few years which seemingly align with the business of Adani Group.
- In 2010, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested Rajesh Adani, the managing director of Adani Enterprises, for custom duty evasion amounting to INR 80 lakh. In 2017, the customs authorities alleged that the Adani Group was diverting funds to tax havens overseas. Gautam Adani was also accused of using shell companies in Dubai to divert the funds.
- In 2014, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence also mapped out a money trail through South Korea and Dubai, to an offshore company in Mauritius allegedly owned by Vinod Adani, Gautam Adani’s elder brother.
- In 2018, the Adani Group was surrounded by environmental and biodiversity protection issues in Australia, as the mining project involved the occupation of 86,000-acre space. As a result, when banks denied funding its project, the group funded the project with its internal resources. Later, the company also changed its name from Adani Mining to Bravus Mining.
- In 2022, CreditSights, a unit of Fitch Ratings, warned that Adani Group was overleveraged and its aggressive expansion has hurt the cash flows and credit metrics. It also stated that the group may end up in a debt trap in the worst-case scenario.
- Recently, the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence (DRI) also seized 2,988 kg of heroin at the Mundra port in Gujarat which was smuggled from Kandahar, Afghanistan via Bandar Abbas in Iran. The containers were initially declared to contain semi-processed talc stones and bituminous coal. The incident put Mundra Port under scanner for illegal activities and smuggling.
- A little-known fact about Gautam Adani is that he was one of the hostages hiding in the basement of the Taj Hotel during the tragic 26/11 terrorist attacks in Mumbai, and was rescued by NSG commandos the following day.