In January this year a bombshell report by an US-based short seller lopped billions off Gautam Adani’s business empire, taking away his ‘richest Indian’ tag almost overnight. The ports-to-energy conglomerate was accused of “brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud” and its list companies recorded a sharp drop in market value over the next few weeks. And as the world’s 500 richest people added $852 billion to their fortunes, the billionaire saw the highest wealth erosion in the first half of 2023.
The Hindenburg report — vehemently denied by the Group — had lopped off close to $150 billion in market value at the lowest point. The Adani Group chairman also posted the biggest one-day loss of any billionaire — shedding about $20.8 billion on January 27.
“The report was a combination of targeted misinformation and outdated, discredited allegations aimed at damaging our reputation and generating profits through a deliberate drive-down of our stock prices,” Adani said recently. He also noted in the annual report of group’s flagship Adani Enterprises that a Supreme Court -appointed panel of experts found no regulatory failure.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg had led a $852 billion surge among the world’s 500 richest individuals. Each member of the Index made an average of $14 million per day over the past six months. Data compiled by Bloomberg also indicated that this was the best half-year for billionaires since the back half of 2020 when the economy rebounded from a COVID-induced slump.
The gains also coincided with a broad stock market rally, as investors brushed off the effects of central bank interest rate hikes, the ongoing war in Ukraine and a crisis in regional banks. The S&P 500 rose 16% and the Nasdaq 100 surged 39% for its best-ever first half as investor mania over artificial intelligence boosted tech stocks.
(c) 2023 the Mint
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