Vibrant Gujarat Mirrors Adani Group’s Stunning Comeback Story with a Swag

In a corporate group’s long history, 12 months can appear as just a speck in the continuum of time. But, for the Adani group, the last 12 months will stand out as a period defined by plunging depths and spectacular return to where it aims to belong.

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Processor Intelligence Unit

There’s now an unmistakable excitement and optimism about India, even at a time when large parts of the developed world stare at a shaky forecast.

In this period of uncertainty, India stands out as a beacon of hope.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on January 10 said that India has emerged as a ray of hope amid global uncertainties, and the world looks at it as a pillar of stability, a trusted friend and an engine of growth in the global economy.

“India is moving forward in the role of a ‘Vishwa Mitra’ (friend of the world) in a fast-changing world. Today, India has given the world confidence in achieving common collective goals. India’s commitment, efforts and hard work for global welfare is making the world safer and prosperous,” Modi said, inaugurating the 10th edition of the Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit in Gandhinagar.

The Prime Minister said that irrespective of any analysis, it is his “guarantee” that the country will achieve that position.

Adani's Rough and Tumble Year

Asia’s richest businessmen - Gautam Adani – whose group companies have shown remarkable resilience to stage a smart rebound after being laid low by unfounded allegations by Hindenburg Research, a US-based short-selling firm, announced a Rs 2 lakh crore investment in Gujarat over the next five years.

This, among others, involves a plan to set up the world's largest clean energy project that will be visible even from space. The apples-to-airport conglomerate is building three giga factories for manufacturing solar modules, wind turbines and hydrogen electrolyzers.

In a corporate group’s long history, 12 months can appear as just a speck in the continuum of time. But for some groups, some years stand out as periods of rough and tumble, defined by plunging depths and stunning comebacks.

In late January 2023, Hindenburg Research, rocked the world of finance and business with a rather damning report, alleging the Adani Group of "brazen stock manipulation and accounting fraud scheme over the course of decades".

Adani group stocks went into a free-fall, wiping out more than $100 billion (about Rs 7.8 lakh crore) in market value. Gautam Adani saw the value of this wealth go into a tailspin. From Asia’s richest person, his rankings plummeted to close to 30 in the standings of the wealthiest.

The Adani Group countered with a 413-page response, calling this a "calculated attack on India, the independence, integrity and quality of Indian institutions, and the growth story and ambition of India".

The timing of the Hindenburg report was critical. It came days after Adani Enterprises, the group’s flagship company, had planned a follow-on public offer (FPO) of Rs 20,000 crore. On February 1, 2023, when the Union Budget was presented, the Adani group cancelled its FPO citing “unprecedented situation and volatility.

What followed was 11 months of rebuilding and financial recouping  as the group battled to regroup amid a swirl of allegations, which were investigated by a Supreme Court monitored panel and capital market watchdog Securities Exchange Board of India (SEBI).

Supreme Court Verdict: Vindication and Relief for Adani Group

On January 3, the Supreme Court said the report by the OCCRP - an organisation funded by billionaire George Soros, among others - can't be the basis for doubting the capital markets regulator SEBI's investigation into the Hindenburg case.

Delivering the judgment, a Supreme Court bench of Chief Justice of India DY Chandrachud and Justices JB Pardiwala and Manoj Misra said there were no grounds to transfer the probe to a special investigation team (SIT).

The Securities and Exchange Board of India (SEBI) has investigated 22 out of the 24 cases linked to the US-based short seller Hindenburg Research's allegations. The Supreme Court gave the SEBI three months to complete the investigation in the remaining two cases.

Exactly a week after the Supreme Court verdict, Adani announced a Rs 2 lakh crore investment plan in Gujarat, including building the world's largest green energy park, covering 725 square kilometers.  It will produce 30 gigawatt of electricity from solar energy as well as set up an integrated renewable energy manufacturing ecosystem for solar and wind.

"Over the next five years, Adani Group will invest over Rs 2 lakh crore in Gujarat - that is $25 billion - thereby creating over 1 lakh direct and indirect jobs," Adani said at the 10th Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit here.

The building blocks of the green supply chain will create the largest integrated renewable energy ecosystem. "This includes solar panels, wind turbines, hydrogen electrolysers, green ammonia, PVC, and expansions in copper and cement production," he said.

Adani said the group has already invested over Rs 50,000 crore out of the Rs 55,000 crore investment committed by 2025 at the previous summit.

The chairman of Adani Group said since 2014, India's GDP has grown by 185 per cent, and per capita income by 165 per cent (is this correct?). "This achievement is unparalleled, especially considering this decade's geopolitical conflicts and pandemic challenges."

A Booming Gujarat and India

Vibrant Gujarat Global Summit, conceptualised in 2003 when Modi was the chief minister of Gujarat, has today evolved as one of the most reputed global forums for business networking, knowledge sharing and strategic partnerships for inclusive growth and sustainable development.

Driven by its inherent entrepreneurial spirit, the State of Gujarat has taken significant strides in developing a resilient and vibrant economy over the past two decades and has emerged as one of India’s most industrialized and urbanized states, and one of the most preferred investment destinations.

This 10th edition of Vibrant Gujarat is celebrating “20 Years of Vibrant Gujarat as the Summit of Success”.

Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi, he said, "You have taken us from a country seeking a voice on global platforms to a nation that now creates the global platforms."

"The solar alliance platform, an initiative you conceptualised, and your leadership at the G20 platform, set a benchmark for a more inclusive world order. Adding Global South to the G20 is a defining moment in modern history," he said. "Prime Minister, you don't just predict the future, you shape it."

"With your foresight in harnessing India's youth to build a Viksit Bharat (Developed India) and make India a fully developed nation by 2047, you have ensured that the India of today is poised to shape the global future of tomorrow," Adani added.

Adani said he has been part of every Vibrant Gujarat Summit since the biennial event was conceived two decades back.

"Vibrant Gujarat is a stunning manifestation of your (Prime Minister Narendra Modi's) extraordinary vision. It has all your hallmark signatures, merging grand ambitions, massive scale, meticulous governance, and flawless execution," he added.

The chief guest on the occasion was UAE President Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. Mozambique President Filipe Nyusi, Timor Leste President José Ramos-Horta, Czech Republic Prime Minister Petr Fiala, Vietnam Deputy Prime Minister Tran Luu Quang, Gujarat Governor Acharya Devvrat, Chief Minister Bhupendra Patel among other dignitaries were present on the occasion.

Reliance Industries chairman Mr Mukesh Ambani said Reliance Industries will be setting up India's first and world-class carbon fibre facility at Hazira, Gujarat.

Mr Ambani said that Reliance will set up a green energy giga complex on 5,000 acres in Jamnagar in 2024.

Mr Mukesh Ambani confirmed India's bid for the 2036 Olympics, and said that Reliance will assist the authorities in developmental projects regarding the same.

Mr Ambani said no power on earth can stop India from becoming a 35 trillion-dollar economy. He said Gujarat's economy will be 3 trillion dollars.

Tata Group Chairman N Chandrasekaran announced during the Gujarat summit that the company is planning to build a semiconductor fab in Gujarat's Dholera, and it will begin operations in 2024 itself.

Further, the Tata Group will also construct a 20-gigawatt lithium-ion storage battery factory in the state's Sanand over the next two months.

Suzuki Motor Corporation President Toshihiro Suzuki said at the summit that the global auto company will invest Rs 35,000 crore to set up its second manufacturing facility in Gujarat. The company is looking to ramp up its annual production capacity to over 40 lakh units by 2030-31.

Dutch and Singaporean companies announced investments worth over $7 billion in India in the upcoming financial year.

Global tech firm Nvidia said that its partner firm Yotta is set to commission an "artificial intelligence data centre" in GIFT City before March 2024.

ArcelorMittal chairman Mr Lakshmi Mittal announced that his firm will build the world's single biggest steel manufacturing factory at Hazira in Gujarat by 2029, having a capacity of 24 million tonnes per annum.

India has also inked important MoUs with the United Arab Emirates, planning investments worth billions in Gujarat and other states.