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Adani Ports Investors Panic – Bond Yields Drop to Junk Status

A passenger bus moves past the logo of the Adani Group installed at a roundabout on the ring road in Ahmedabad, India, February 2, 2023. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Adani Ports Investors Panic – Bond Yields Drop to Junk Status

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February 2, 2023

by Giulia Morpurgo (Bloomberg) Investors anxious over billionaire Gautam Adani’s business empire have sent some of his companies’ bond yields above 10%, a milestone typically reserved for junk-rated debt.

Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Ltd., which is scheduled to pay a total of $24.7 million in interest on three dollar bonds today, has seen yields on two of the notes soar into double digits, according to prices compiled by Bloomberg. All three of the bonds are being quoted at around 63 cents on the dollar, well into distressed territory.

On Friday there’s a $10 million coupon payment for one of Adani Transmission Ltd.’s dollar bonds. Its yield soared a whopping 400 basis points this week to 13.5%.

Adani Ports is India’s largest private-sector port operator with a 30% market share, and according to analysts at CreditSights Inc., it has the strongest credit fundamentals among the Indian billionaire’s portfolio. But even though the company has investment-grade ratings — albeit the lowest at all the major rating companies — its bond yields have soared since US-based Hindenburg Research’s scathing report last week, well over the 8.5% rate on a global Bloomberg index of junk bonds.

Here’s a list of the upcoming dollar bond interest payments due in the coming days:

Issuer & Year of Maturity Due Date Amount
Adani Ports 20312/2/2023$7.75m
Adani Ports 20412/2/2023$11.25m
Adani Ports 20322/2/2023$5.7m
Adani Transmission 20262/3/2023$10m
Adani Ports 20272/4/2023$15.75m
Adani Electricity Mumbai 20302/12/2023$19.7m

The short seller accused the Adani conglomerate of “brazen” stock manipulation and accounting fraud — allegations that the group rebutted in a 413-page response but couldn’t stem the rout. The businesses’ market capitalization have lost more than $100 billion since the report was published, one of the biggest wipeouts in India’s history.

The rout worsened after Adani Enterprises Ltd. decided not to go ahead with a follow-on public offer of shares. It has been returning funds to investors that had participated in it. Veteran emerging-markets investor Mark Mobius said his firm passed on the share sale because of concerns over the Adani empire’s debts. Meanwhile, Citigroup Inc.’s wealth arm has stopped accepting securities linked to Adani, as did Credit Suisse Group AG.

Even though a default of near-term dollar bonds is unlikely, “funding access and pricing both in capital and loan markets will be tested post this short-sell report,” wrote CreditSights’ analysts Lakshmanan R., Rohan Kapur, Jonathan Tan, in a note. “To be clear we do not think the loan markets will be shut off for the group, but the access/pricing may be relatively harder.”

(Updates with Mark Mobius passing on the share sale in the penultimate paragraph. A previous version of this story was corrected to show the yield in the graph.)

–With assistance from Abhinav Ramnarayan. © 2023 Bloomberg L.P.

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