College dropout Gautam Adani’s knack for surviving crises. His business acumen has propelled him to the ranks of India’s richest but he now faces possibly the biggest challenge of his career. Hindenburg Research brought out a scathing report that has led to his group shedding more than USD 50 billion in market value in just two trading sessions. Adani himself lost in excess of USD 20 billion, or about one-fifth of his total fortune. Adani has now slipped behind Bill Gates and Warren Buffett to be the seventh-richest person in the world from the pre-Hindenburg position of being the third richest. More than his personal status, at stake, is the reputation of an empire the first-generation entrepreneur built over three-and-half decades. The immediate task is to see a Rs 20,000 crore follow-on share sale, the second largest in India at his conglomerate’s flagship firm sail through.
Adani dropped out of college and moved to Mumbai as a teenager.
Adani Enterprises Ltd’s FPO found investors for just 1 percent of the shares on offer on the opening day. The company’s share price fell below the offer price because of the damning allegations in the Hindenburg report. The issue, where the shares are being sold in a price band of Rs 3,112 to Rs 3,276, as of now closes on January 31. On Friday, Adani Enterprises closed at Rs 2,762.15 on the BSE. Adani moved to Mumbai as a teenager, working for a while as a diamond sorter in the gem trade. He returned to Gujarat in 1981 to help his elder brother Mahasukhbhai run a small-scale PVC film factory the family had acquired in Ahmedabad. In 1988, he set up a commodities trading venture under Adani Exports and listed it on the bourses in 1994. The firm is now called Adani Enterprises.