Gopalpur Port on the Horizon: Adani’s Ongoing Maritime Expansion
Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone (APSEZ), India’s largest private port operator, is reportedly in the initial stages of discussions to acquire Gopalpur port in Odisha from the real-estate conglomerate Shapoorji Pallonji Group (SP Group). According to The Economic Times, the potential deal is estimated to be in the range of 11-12 billion rupees ($132-$144 million).
If finalized, this acquisition would mark Adani Ports’ sixth venture into port ownership along the eastern coast of India, where the company already boasts a substantial capacity of approximately 247 million tonnes, as reported by the daily newspaper. The enterprise value of Gopalpur port is stated to be 50 billion rupees, and the due diligence process for the acquisition is currently underway, according to sources cited in the ET report.
This move aligns with the overarching strategy of the Adani Group, led by Gautam Adani, to establish a significant presence in port operations along both the western and eastern maritime borders of India. However, representatives from both Adani Group and SP Group have yet to respond to Reuters’ requests for comments on the matter.
The article also touches upon recent developments concerning Adani Ports, mentioning that in August, Deloitte resigned as the auditor of the company. This decision marked the first instance of such a move and came after U.S. short-seller Hindenburg Research raised concerns about high debt levels and alleged irregularities within the Adani Group. The conglomerate’s seven listed firms reportedly suffered a collective market capitalization loss of about $150 billion following the Hindenburg report. While the companies have since managed to recover some of these losses after addressing certain debt issues, challenges persist.
It is important to note that the Adani Group vehemently denies the allegations put forth by Hindenburg, emphasizing its commitment to transparency and adherence to regulatory standards.
In essence, the potential acquisition of Gopalpur port reflects Adani Ports’ strategic vision to solidify its presence in the eastern coastal regions of India. The company has been actively expanding its portfolio in the maritime sector, and if successful, this deal could further enhance its standing as a key player in India’s port operations. However, the ongoing scrutiny and challenges, including the change in auditors and the fallout from the Hindenburg report, underscore the complexities that major conglomerates like the Adani Group navigate in the dynamic landscape of the Indian business environment.