The share prices of Adani Group stocks tripped on the bourses for two consecutive sessions following BJP MP Subramanian Swamy labelling its promoter Gautam Adani as India’s biggest NPA ‘trapeze artist’.
In a widely commented and shared tweet on Tuesday, Swamy said Adani, perceived to be close to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, should be made accountable or he would file a Public Interest Litigation in court for recovery of bank loans from him. He demanded an investigation into Adani group that, he said, has ₹72,000 crore in NPAs. While Adani group refuted all allegations and said they were regularly servicing their debt, the damage to the group’s listed companies was done in the stock market.
“Swamy, seen as a Socratic public gadfly and a delight to many, is considered a threat among traders in the stock market,” the CEO of a Mumbai-based financial services firm said. “It is Swamy’s past track record of not only attacking some of India’s towering public figures and corporates but even leading to their downfall that has caused heartburn among investors or traders active in Adani group stocks.”
Experts say, Swamy’s allegations against former RBI Governor Raghuram Rajan and Finance Minister P Chidambaram that saw their public perception taking a severe hit are reminiscent of the fact that the MP first lets out a trial balloon before making a full combative approach.
“In fact, traders have decided to short sell shares of companies that Swamy attacks. He is the new index in the stock market,” said a dealing room employee at a brokerage.
Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the group, fell 15 per cent in just two trading sessions. In fact, it was a sharp 8 per cent fall in Adani Enterprises during the last half hour of trade on Tuesday that saw panic selling in the wider market leading to an over 1 per cent fall in key benchmark indices Sensex and Nifty.
On Wednesday, Adani Enterprises was down 6.7 per cent. Adani Power fell nearly 7 per cent. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone was down 6.45 per cent and Adani Transmission fell 7.67 per cent.
Then Kejriwal, now Swamy
“Between 2010 and 2013 it was Arvind Kejriwal, who was feared by stock market traders as his allegations against DLF and GMR group brought down their stock prices like a pack of card. Now it is Swamy who seems to be having a similar impact,” said the promoter of another Mumbai-based brokerage company.
According to Bloomberg data, Adani Power has total debt, as of September 2017, of ₹47,609.43 crore. Adani Transmission has total debt, as of September 2017, of ₹8,356.07 crore, Adani Enterprises, as of September 2017, of ₹22,424.44 crore and Adani Ports, as of September 2017, of ₹20,791.15 crore.