Billionaire Gautam Adani is weighing a bid for a coal-fired power plant belonging to beleaguered Indian tycoon Anil Ambani that is currently being auctioned by Indian lenders, according to people familiar with the matter.
Adani, fresh from a $2.8 billion capital raising, may face intense competition for Vidarbha Industries Power Ltd., which operates the 600-megawatt generation facility in central India, according to the people, who asked not to be identified as the plans are private. Lenders to the plant are driving the sale process, the people said.
Ambani’s Reliance Power Ltd. is also considering making an offer for the asset in an attempt to win back control of the firm, one of the people said. Deliberations are ongoing and Adani and Reliance Power could decide not to proceed with formal offers, the people said. Reliance Power declined to comment, while an Adani Group spokesperson couldn’t immediately comment.
If Adani wins the plant it would add to the conglomerate’s growing portfolio of coal power projects as it attempts to recover from a devastating short-seller attack by Hindenburg Research in January, which erased more than $150 billion from the group’s market value at one point.
The auction of Vidarbha Industries to another company would also mark the further diminishment of Anil Ambani, a former billionaire who has been battling creditors for years and fought a bitter succession battle with Mukesh, his elder brother and Asia’s richest man.
While Adani is looking at expanding his core fossil-fuel projects, people familiar with the matter said that Bain Capital and Carlyle Group Inc. are among potential bidders for a controlling stake of his NBFC Adani Capital, as he looks to conserve cash and focus on key businesses.