S&P Global upgrades Adani Ports, Adani Electricity on cash flow optimism

BENGALURU (Reuters) – S&P Global Ratings revised its outlook for India’s Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone and Adani Electricity Mumbai to stable from negative on signs of robust cash flow in the next 12 to 24 months.

Adani Ports’ ratio of adjusted net debt to earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization – a measure of its ability to pay off liabilities – is expected to be in the range of 3x to 4x over the next two years, S&P said.

For Adani Electricity, the agency expects its ability to generate operating cash flow compared to its debt to improve to above 10% in fiscal 2024 and 2025.

The recovery is expected to be driven by a rise in power demand, consistent collections from tariffs and the recuperation of revenue that was lower during 2021 and 2022 due to regulatory measures.

S&P, however, said it could lower the rating on Adani Ports if it takes loans or advances outside normal business or if its ratio of funds from operations to debt stays below 15%.

India’s Supreme Court had this month said Adani Group does not need to face more probe, in a relief to the conglomerate hit hard by a U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research’s allegations of wrongdoing in January last year.

The group has denied the allegations, but the report still chopped $150 billion off its stock market value.

Though some investor confidence has returned as the group won the backing of bankers and investors, the saga and the regulatory scrutiny have weighed on its business dealings and reputation.

S&P said the conclusion of most investigations without evidence of wrongdoing has reduced downside risk, but governance concerns persist due to the group’s ambitious growth plans and related-party transactions outside the normal course of business.

Adani Ports’ shares closed up 3.5% on Saturday, gaining along with other group stocks.

(Reporting by Navamya Ganesh Acharya in Bengaluru; Editing by Arun Koyyur)