Shares in companies controlled by Indian billionaire Gautam Adani shed more than $6 billion on Monday despite rejecting media reports that said accounts of three foreign investor funds that own stocks had been frozen.
Adani Group flagship Adani Enterprises (ADEL.NS) closed down 6.3% after plunging as much as 25%, its steepest fall in nearly a decade.
The freezing of the three accounts was first flagged in an article in India’s Economic Times on Monday.
The Adani Group firms involved rejected reports about the National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) freezing the funds’ accounts as “blatantly erroneous” in identical statements issued to stock exchanges. read more
The NSDL website showed it had frozen as of May 31 the accounts of Albula Investment Fund, Cresta Fund and APMS Investment Fund, without citing a reason.
The Adani firms said they had received an e-mail from the “Registrar and Transfer Agent” dated June 14 saying “that the Demat Account in which the aforesaid funds hold the shares of the company were not frozen”.
The NSDL and India’s securities regulator SEBI did not respond to requests for immediate comment.
But a senior NSDL official said the depository had frozen accounts of the funds that hold certain other securities and not those holding Adani company shares, adding that freeze was “not new”.
“Foreign portfolio investors generally have one account. But in certain circumstances they can have multiple accounts. In this case, the funds hold at least more than one account,” said the official, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn’t authorised to speak publicly on the issue.
Reuters was not able to reach the funds for comment.
Shares of Adani Ports (APSE.NS) ended down 8.5% after falling as much as 19%.
The three funds feature among the top 12 investors and owned 2.1% to 8.91% stakes in five Adani Group companies as of March 31, 2020, annual investor presentations show.
Adani Enterprises stock has had an increase of more than 10-fold in the past year to Friday, in a broad surge in shares in Adani Group companies that has made Adani the second richest Asian, behind Mukesh Ambani of oil-to-telecom conglomerate Reliance Industries (RELI.NS).
($1 = 73.1680 Indian rupees)