By Nishit Navin and Shivam Patel
BENGALURU (Reuters) -Abu Dhabi conglomerate International Holding Company (IHC) on Thursday said it will sell its stake in two of India’s Adani Group companies, a move that comes as billionaire Gautam Adani’s business continues its battle against fraud allegations.
Overseas investors such as the IHC have backed Adani in the face of allegations raised by U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research in January that the apples-to-airports conglomerate engaged in stock manipulation and had amassed significantly high debt.
The Adani Group has denied all allegations and the Indian markets regulator is investigating the matter under orders of India’s Supreme Court.
The IHC, which is the UAE’s largest publicly traded company worth more than $235.98 billion, said in a stock exchange notice that its subsidiaries have entered an agreement with a buyer to “dispose of” its foreign direct investment in Adani Green Energy and Adani Energy Solutions.
It did not disclose the name of the buyer. Adani Green Energy and Adani Energy Solutions did not reply to Reuters requests for comment.
The move, as part of IHC’s “portfolio rebalancing strategy”, would see its subsidiaries Green Energy and Green Transmission offload their 1.26% stake in Adani Green and 1.41% stake in Adani Energy Solutions, respectively, according to Bombay Stock Exchange data.
The company’s disclosure to the market aligns with its strategy to rebalance its investment portfolio, IHC said in a statement to Reuters. “Our partnership with Adani and dedication to the Indian market remain steadfast.”
IHC had signalled confidence in the group when it announced an investment of $381 million in Adani Enterprises’ $2.5 billion follow-on share sale, days after the Hindenburg report was published.
But the share offering was called off as the allegations hammered the group’s listed companies, which lost nearly $147 billion in market value, before recovering a majority of the losses in the following months.
IHC is part of a business empire overseen by its chair, Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed al-Nahyan, who is also the UAE’s national security adviser and a foreign policy troubleshooter for his brother, President Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahyan
Last year, Adani group announced a $2 billion investment from the conglomerate as primary capital in three Adani group companies, which included investments of 38.50 billion rupees ($463 million) each in Adani Green and Adani Energy Solutions.
($1 = 83.1614 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Nishit Navin in Bengaluru and Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Additional reporting by Anirudh Saligrama in Bengaluru; Editing by Varun H K, Ros Russell and Shweta Agarwal)