With Ambuja Cement and ACC under his fold, Gautam Adani inches close to becoming world’s richest man

Gautam Adani, the man on a mission and promoter of the Adani Group, is poised to become the world’s richest with the addition of two new listed entities — Ambuja Cementand ACC under his fold.

Thanks to the relentless rally in the Indian equity market, Adani is already ranked number two, just behind Tesla’s Elon Musk in the world’s wealthiest list.

Third-placed Adani toppled Amazon’s Jeff Bezos last week to become the world’s second-richest person.

According to the Forbes Real-Time Billionaires List, Adani’s net worth stands at $156 billion as on Friday, leaving behind Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Adani is now only behind Tesla’s Elon Musk, who remains the world’s richest with a net worth of $273.5 billion.

Clinching the top spot

Adani first appeared on the Forbes’ billionaires’ list in 2008, with an estimated $9.3 billion, a fortune that has increased 15-fold since then.

On Friday, Adani Group paid ₹51,200 crore ($6.4 billion) to Switzerland-headquartered Holcim to acquire a controlling stake in Ambuja Cement and ACC. The Group also committed to investing another ₹20,000 crore to increase its stake in the holding company Ambuja Cement by 19.39 per cent.

Ambuja Cement registered a market cap of $12.85 billion, while ACC’s was $6.06 billion on Friday. In the last month, Ambuja Cement’s share price had zoomed 30 per cent to ₹516 a piece from ₹396 recorded on August 16, while ACC’s increased 15 per cent to ₹2,614 from ₹2,269 in the same period.

This came on the back of Adani’s entry into the cement business, targeting to topple the current market leader Aditya Birla Group company UltraTech Cement.

Gaining ground

The six listed entities of the Adani Group have been the darling of the stock market despite concerns raised over its debt-fund growth.

The 60-year-old Gautam Adani leads as chairman and is flanked by his wife, brother, two sons and some nephews in various roles.

Adani has consistently been hitting the headlines by acquiring unrelated businesses such as media, energy and transportation. He had also acquired a majority stake in Mumbai International Airport in 2020, making his firm India’s largest airport operator, and now operates seven airports.

Last month, financial services firm Fitch Group-owned CreditSights, in its fundamental analysis, raised concern over the debt level of the Adani Group.

“Over the past few years, the Adani Group has pursued an aggressive expansion plan that has pressurized its credit metrics and cash flows. The Adani Group is increasingly venturing into new and/or unrelated businesses, which are highly capital intensive and raises concerns regarding spreading execution oversight too thin. Overall, we remain cautiously watchful of the Group’s growing expansion appetite, which is largely debt-funded,” it said.

Reacting to the CreditSights report, Adani Group said the debt levels of the Group are well within the industry standards and are being monitored for deleveraging at regular intervals. Over the past three years, the portfolio has raised $32.3 billion in capital, which is split into $8.3 billion in debt capital market issuances, $8 billion in GoTo market facilities, and $16 billion in the Equity Capital program, the largest program by any group in India, it said.

Published on

September 17, 2022