India’s richest man Gautam Adani is on a shopping spree. The Adani group recently agreed to buy Swiss building materials maker Holcim Ltd.’s India assets Ambuja Cements and ACC Ltd for $10.5 billion (₹ 80,000 crores) in one of the largest ever acquisitions by an Indian group. The Adani family outbid the likes of JSW group and Ultratech to complete the acquisition and become the second biggest player, merely two years after foraying into the cement sector.
As per market regulator SEBI, Holcim owns 63.19 per cent in Ambuja Cement and 4.48 per cent in ACC. Ambuja Cement, in turn, owns 50.05 per cent share of ACC. The Adani family will apparently now hold 26 per cent in these two companies from non-promoter shareholders.
India is set to be the world’s largest demand-driven economy in the coming decades, and cement is a fundamental part of building an economy, both literally and figurately. From that lens, the aforementioned acquisition makes sense and looks like a good one at it. However, in recent times, Mr. Adani has come across as a compulsive and obsessive shopaholic who is out to buy anything and everything.
Adani acquires The Quint
Reportedly, days before the deal with Holcim was finalized, Gautam Adani became a shareholder in the leftist digital media portal — The Quint. According to a report by Business Standard, while the final sum was not disclosed, Adani’s AMG Media Networks, a unit of his conglomerate Adani Enterprises acquired a 49 per cent stake in Quintillion Business Media Pvt Ltd.
To finalise the deal, the Adani group signed two kinds of agreements with various arms working to run Quint. It signed a share purchase agreement with Quintillion Media Ltd (QML), Quintillion Business Media Ltd (QBML) and Quint Digital Media Ltd (QDML). A share purchase agreement is a legal contract between two parties, a seller and a buyer. It is made to confirm the buyer’s stake in the company.
Becoming the largest commercial port operator through acquisitions
Similarly, Adani Group, through acquisitions, starting way back in 2014 has become the largest commercial port operator in India with a 24 per cent market share present in seven maritime states. The company first acquired the Dhamra Port company in 2014 and later went on to acquire Gangavaram, Ocean Sparkle, and Krishnapatnam. The company also ventured overseas by acquiring the services of an Australian company named Abbot Point Bulkcoal Pty Ltd. operating out of Queensland.
The company had recently acquired the majority stake in Mumbai Airports and is currently building the Navi Mumbai Airport. Catering to 100 million passengers per annum, Adani Group also has under its fold airports in six cities it won concessions for in the year 2019. It has recently raised 250 million dollars in this vertical.
Adani group’s heavy involvement in the energy sector
The Adani group is also heavily involved in the energy sector where it has also grown through the M&G route. Its total renewable portfolio is the largest in India at 5.4 gigawatts grown through acquisitions. In one of the biggest deals, Adani Green Energy Ltd (AGEL) last year, completed the acquisition of Japan’s SoftBank Group Corp.’s and Bharti Enterprises Ltd-owned solar power producer SB Energy India for an enterprise value of $3.5 billion.
In 2019, French energy major Total Energies bought a 37 percent stake in Adani Gas. Renamed into Adani Total Gas, the company operates the largest city gas distribution business in India. As a result, the total energy portfolio of the Adani Group currently stands at 19 Gigawatts which includes a large portfolio of thermal power plants mostly acquired.
Acquisitions in the EV sector on cards
The Indian multinational conglomerate is also planning to manufacture electric vehicle batteries and set up charging stations all around the nation. It will also establish a Research and Development centre in the Special economic zone in Mundra.
With the EV sector heating up with a handful of competitors, the Adani group is already looking to make the moves. According to an ET report, Adani group is scouting for acquisitions including partnerships in the UK, Europe, Israel, and Japan amongst other markets to participate in the entire value chain of electric vehicles, right from battery, motors, and charging systems for two-wheelers to cars.
Adani Group stated on the developments, “We are on the lookout for acquisitions and partnerships. We are in the middle of discussions with multiple companies, which will help us accelerate our penetration into the future mobility or clean mobility space,”
Adani Wilmar — a behemoth in the FMCG sector, forged through an acquisition
In the FMCG sector as well, Gautam Adani is making acquisitions left, right and centre. Earlier this month, Adani Wilmar Limited (AWL) announced the acquisition of several brands, including the renowned Basmati rice brand – Kohinoor for the India region from McCormick Switzerland GMBH for an undisclosed amount.
It is pertinent to note that Adani Wilmar was incorporated as a joint venture between the group and Singapore’s Wilmar in 1999. Since then, the company has become the largest edible oils brand and importer in India. With revenue of ₹ 54,214 crore in FY22, Adani Wilmar trounced Hindustan Unilever as the country’s biggest FMCG company.
In his early days, Gautam Adani worked as a diamond sorter in Mumbai. He then ran a small-scale plastic business in Ahmedabad. The group was born in 1988 when Adani, who had dropped out of college, set up the flagship company Adani Enterprises to import and export commodities.
Since then, both Adani and his company have grown at a phenomenal pace. However, the recent trend of aggressive acquisitions by Mr. Adani has made the stockholders a tad fidgety. Big business owners have gone out of the game trying to expand too rapidly. One can only hope that Adani’s shopaholic nature does not prove to be his Achilles heel.