Adani Enterprises Ltd. is exploring selling its stake in its Mumbai-listed consumer-staple joint venture with Wilmar International Ltd., freeing up capital for their core business, according to people familiar with the matter.

The conglomerate has been considering a potential sale of its 44% stake in Adani Wilmar Ltd. for a few months, the people said, asking not to be identified as the information is confidential. Adani’s shares are worth about $2.7 billion at the current share price, according to calculations.

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani and his family may retain a minority stake in a personal capacity following a sale, the people said. Wilmar, the Singapore-headquartered food conglomerate co-founded by billionaire Kuok Khoon Hong in 1991, could decide to retain its stake in the business, one of the people said.

Deliberations are at an early stage and Adani Enterprises may decide to keep its stake, the people said. An Adani spokesman said the group won’t comment on market speculation. A representative for Wilmar declined to comment.

Shares of Adani Wilmar have fallen about 36% this year, valuing the company at around $6.2 billion. Adani-linked companies had lost more than $150 billion in market value at one point after US-based short seller Hindenburg Research leveled fraud allegations against the business empire. The Adani Group denied any wrongdoing.

Adani is back to making deals now that the shares have stabilised. Ambuja Cements Ltd. said Aug. 3 it will acquire Sanghi Industries Ltd. at an enterprise value of $605 million. Last month, Bain Capital agreed to buy the 90% stake the family held in Adani Capital and Adani Housing.

Adani Wilmar raised about 36 billion rupees ($435 million) in an initial public offering in Mumbai in 2022. Adani and Wilmar’s stakes together account for nearly 88% of the company’s shares. The Securities and Exchange Board of India requires that large firms must have a minimum public shareholding of at least 25% within five years of the date of the listing.

Adani Wilmar is a fast moving consumer goods company, offering many essential kitchen commodities for Indian consumers including edible oils, wheat flour, rice, pulses and sugar, according to its website. Incorporated in 1999, the company’s products reach over 114 million households through more than 10,000 distributors, according to its annual report. It competes in India with the likes of ITC Ltd. and Hindustan Unilever Ltd.  

The company reported a net loss of 790 million rupees in the quarter ending June 30. Management attributed the loss to falling edible oil prices and high-cost inventory.