Billionaire Adani’s firm weighs $1.8 billion fundraise

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani speaks during an interview with Reuters at his office in the western Indian city of Ahmedabad in this April 2, 2014 file photo. REUTERS/Amit Dave

Adani Enterprises Ltd., the flagship firm of Asia’s richest person, is considering issuing at least $1.8 billion in new shares, according to people familiar with the matter.

Billionaire Gautam Adani’s conglomerate is working with advisers on the follow-on issue and could sell the shares as soon as next year, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is private. The sale could even raise as much as $2.4 billion, one of the people said.

The issue would diversify the shareholder base and build the firm’s credibility and acceptance among investors, the people said. More research firms are expected to cover the company in the next six months, one of the people said.

Shares in Adani Enterprises have risen about 136% in the year to date, giving it a market value of around $56.3 billion, according to Bloomberg calculations. India’s benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index has risen just 5.4% over the same period, and analysts have highlighted how Adani group stocks are vulnerable to outsized swings, compounded by lower liquidity relative to peers.

The Adani group has previously attributed the small free float to the Adani family holding about 75% of Adani Enterprises, and earlier this year said it is working on plans to increase the free float.

Deliberations are ongoing and details of the fundraise including size and timing could still change, the people said. Representatives for Adani Enterprises declined to comment. The company’s board will meet Nov. 25 to discuss raising funds, it said in an exchange filing Tuesday.

Adani’s group is looking to raise at least $10 billion in new debt over the next year as the conglomerate seeks to refinance its high-cost borrowings and fund projects in the pipeline, Bloomberg News reported last month. The effort could start as soon as the ongoing December quarter, people familiar with the matter have said.

The planet’s third richest person has made forays into a diverse array of businesses with dealmaking in recent months. Adani spearheaded a $10.5 billion acquisition of Holcim Ltd.’s local cement assets, India’s second biggest deal of the year. The firm is also making a bid to take over New Delhi Television Ltd., with the disclosure of an indirect 29.2% stake in the broadcaster triggering an open offer that launched Tuesday and will run until Dec. 5.



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