India’s Adani Ports stock drops on Haifa port worries over Israel conflict

By Sethuraman N R

BENGALURU (Reuters) -Shares of billionaire Gautam Adani’s Adani Ports And Economic Zone fell as much as 4.5% on Monday, as investors grew wary over possible escalation of a conflict in Israel, where the company owns a major port.

Adani Ports is closely monitoring the conflict in Israel and is prepared with a business continuity plan, the company said in a statement.

“We are closely monitoring the action on ground which is concentrated in South Israel, whereas Haifa port is situated in the North. We remain fully alert and prepared with a business continuity plan that will enable us to respond effectively to any eventuality”.

Haifa’s contribution to Adani Ports’ numbers is “relatively small” at 3% of the total cargo volume, the statement added.

Adani operates the Haifa Port in northern Israel along with a local company after it completed its purchase for 4 billion shekels ($1.03 billion) in January.

Haifa is one of the main seaports in Israel, where about 99% of all goods move in and out of the country by sea.

Investor worries come as Palestinian Islamist group Hamas on Saturday launched the largest military assault on Israel in decades, killing hundreds of Israelis.

Shares of Adani Ports are down 2.1% this year, compared with nearly 8% gains in the broader Nifty 50 index.

“The next couple of months are going to be volatile for Adani Ports as the war has just started and will trade with a negative bias … Besides, it is not just Israel and Iran, but commodity prices will also get impacted,” said Avinash Gorakshakar, head of research at Profitmart Securities.

Haifa is a significant trading hub on the Mediterranean, located north of the present conflict zone.

Adani, the founder and chairman of the group, had said in January that the group would continue to invest in Israel.

Earlier in the year, Adani Ports completed the sale of its port in sanction-hit Myanmar for $30 million, significantly lower than its investment in the project.

Meanwhile, the shares of other listed Adani Group companies fell 1-4% on Monday.

($1 = 3.9000 shekels)

(Reporting by Sethuraman NR and Indranil Sarkar in Bengaluru; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil)