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The Adani Story


Gautam Adani, an Indian business magnate, is the chairman and founder of the Adani Group, a multinational conglomerate with investments in various sectors such as energy, resources, logistics, and agriculture. His name is superseded by his title as India's richest man.


Origins


Born in 1962 in Ahmedabad, he came from a family of entrepreneurs; exposed to the world of business from a young age. After dropping out of Gujrat University, Adani started his career early as a diamond sorter in Mumbai. Later, he entered one of his many family small-businesses as a manager of a plastics unit in Ahmedabad. This unit was bought by his elder brother. Through this venture, Gautam evolved to become a global trader of various goods. He began with plastics like PVC, before quickly diving into diamonds, textiles, metals, etc. In 1988, he then ventured into the import and export business, starting Adani Enterprises Limited, soon renamed “The Adani Group.”


Victories and Propulsion


The Adani Group initially focused on importing and trading agricultural and power products, but it soon diversified into other sectors, such as infrastructure and coal with economic liberalisation begging in 1991.


  • Adani's first major victory came in 1995 when he secured a contract to operate the Mundra Port in Gujarat, then a newly developed port. This was a turning point for the Adani Group, as it helped establish the company as a leading player in the infrastructure sector. Mundra Port is now the largest private sector port in India, and leads Adani's large network of ports managed by Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone Limited (APSEZ).

  • The Adani Group's power division 'Adani Power' was founded in 1996 and has become one of Adani's key businesses. It operates numerous thermal power plants in India that have helped propel the Adani Group financially. Adani Power operates numerous thermal power plants with some of its largest including Mundra Thermal Power Plant, Kawai Thermal Power Plant, etc. It is the largest private thermal power producer in India.

  • Adani Green is another division of The Adani Group that has pledged to reach a 25GW capacity target by 2025. It recently became the world's largest Wind-solar hybrid power developer.


Through acquisitions and partnerships, Adani has managed to grow his business empire. Strategic investments in sectors ranging from renewable energy to mining and defence have augmented the Adani Group, allowing it to reach newer markets. Here's a short list of its business partnerships and acquisitions since its inception :

  • Adani acquired Abbot Point Port along with Carmichael Coal Mine in Australia between 2009 and 2012. He uses the coal procured here to produce electricity in an Indian Power plant that sells electricity to Bangladesh. This coal interdependency has been greatly criticised by environmentalists around the world.

  • (2022) Adani through a 3rd-party bought considerable stake in NDTV's largest owner RRPR. NDTV exclaimed the deal was made without consent or notice and this publicly triggered fear regarding the independence of journalism, media, and editorial independence as a whole- primarily due to Adani's proximity and deep rooted connection with Modi and the BJP. This connection has been highlighted on numerous occasions and is one of the primary reasons Adani has been awarded multiple government contracts.

  • Other acquisitions include a majority stake in Mumbai Airport, Ambuja cement and its subsidiaries, Ocean Sparkle Ltd. and many more.


The Shade in Adani's Business Radiance


  • One of the major controversies surrounding his businesses has been allegations of environmental damage and violations of environmental regulations. The development of the Carmichael coal mine in Australia was one of the several high-profile projects Adani has undertaken, marred by controversy. The Carmichael coal mine project has faced significant opposition due to concerns about its impact on the Great Barrier Reef and the climate. Critics have also alleged him of corruption and crony capitalism, claiming he used his political connections to gain favourable treatment and contracts.

  • Over the last few days, a report published by Hindenburg Research accused Gautam Adani of pulling one of the world's largest corporate cons over the last 2 decades through evidence of countless documents and numerous interviews. The company mentioned 'High-debt', 'sky-high valuations' and 'precarious financial footings' as some of its key findings and reasons for the accusations.

  • As mentioned, there has been controversy regarding Adani's acquisition of NDTV. Following the Hidenberg Report, while most publishers and newspapers have talked almost exclusively of the accusations and the events surrounding it, NDTV has chosen to avoid the issue as a whole. They were silent on it for 2 days before releasing 2 reports on Friday, both evading investigation of any sort or addressing the speculations/report. One was about the congress demanding a serious investigation while the other was the effect of the report on stocks. This was in contrast to Hidenberg's previous findings and reports on various other multinational companies like Tesla. Observations like these have intensified concerns and worry over the bias and attack on press and media.


Conclusion


Despite these controversies, Adani continues to be an influential player in the Indian market; as his businesses have continued to grow and expand, he will remain a key player in the Indian business scene in the foreseeable future. He looks to continue expanding his empire and venture into newer sectors, signalled by his acquisition of NDTV.


Gautam Adani is a self-made billionaire who has built a successful business empire through hard work, strategic thinking, and opportunistic investments. Faced with controversies and criticisms, he emerges strong each time. Adani is likely to continue to be a tycoon in the Indian business scene, and his businesses will continue to have a significant impact on the country's economy and society. Whether that's for the good or the bad ? Does the controversy and political bias outweigh his sustainability and philanthropy drives ? Let's find out through our new series on some of India's largest business conglomerates.

 

Writers

Soham Agarwal

Journalist

The Alpha Theory


Editors

Nehal Singhal

Director of Current Affairs

The Alpha Theory

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