Adani gets a 50% investment in General Aeronautics, a drone business

Adani Defence Systems and Technologies will buy a 50% share in General Aeronautics, a developer of agricultural solutions.

Adani Enterprises’ wholly-owned subsidiary Adani Defence Systems and Technologies Ltd. struck a deal on Friday to buy a 50% ownership in Bengaluru-based General Aeronautics Pvt. Ltd.

“Adani Defence Systems and Technologies shall leverage its military drone and AI/ML capabilities and work with General Aeronautics for providing end-to-end solutions for domestic agricultural sector,” the conglomerate says in an exchange filing.

Adani’s joint venture with Israeli business Elbit Systems was picked in the first tentative list under the production-linked incentive (PLI) system for drones and drone components, and the deal is anticipated to close by July 31.

General Aeronautics is an end-to-end agri solutions company that was founded in 2016. It uses artificial intelligence and analytics to provide robotic drones and drone-based solutions for crop protection, crop health, precision farming, and yield monitoring in the agriculture sector.

After the stocks of the ports-to-power conglomerate’s listed companies boosted his fortunes, billionaire Gautam Adani went on an acquisition binge.

Adani Health Ventures was formed last week, marking the Adani group’s first venture into healthcare (AHVL). The new company will be involved in healthcare-related operations such as the establishment of medical and diagnostic facilities, as well as research centres.

Only four days prior, the Adani family had signed binding agreements to buy Holcim Ltd of Switzerland’s entire share in two Indian cement companies, Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd. The combined value of the Holcim stock and open offer consideration for the two cement companies is estimated to be over $10.5 billion, making this Adani’s largest acquisition to date.

He conglomerate is also attempting to break into the news media industry. Adani Enterprises announced plans to buy a 49 percent share in Quintillion Business Media, the parent company of business news site BQPrime, earlier this month.

The Adani family has also agreed to invest $75 million in Borouge, an Abu Dhabi-based petrochemicals company, in its $2 billion initial public offering (IPO), which is expected to be the largest ever in the emirate.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zones (APSEZ), India’s largest commercial port operator, said last month that its subsidiary Adani Harbour Services will buy a 100 percent ownership in third-party maritime services provider Ocean Sparkle Ltd, with an enterprise value of Rs 1,700 crore.

In April, Adani, the group’s chairman, surpassed Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates to become the world’s fourth richest person. Adani’s fortunes, on the other hand, have slipped marginally this month, leaving him just below Warren Buffett, the billionaire investor.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, the Gujarat-based tycoon’s fortune has increased by approximately $24 billion this year, making him the year’s highest gainer.

Since February, shares of Adani Wilmar, a 50:50 joint venture between Adani and Singapore-based Wilmar International, have risen by 165 percent.

Adani made his money in the coal sector before joining the billionaires club in April. Adani jumped on board the green energy bandwagon as soon as the government decided to phase out fossil fuels.

Adani Green Energy is on the verge of becoming the world’s largest solar power producer. Over the next decade, the company expects to invest 75 percent of its capital in green enterprises, including $20 billion in renewable, green component manufacturing and enabling infrastructure. By 2030, it intends to create 45 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity. In October, it acquired SB Energy, an 80:20 joint venture between Japan’s SoftBank Group and Bharti Group, for Rs 26,000 crore, the largest M&A in India’s renewable industry.

Adani Transmission is already India’s largest private utility in transmission and distribution, with a presence in 12 states and over three crore customers.

Adani also has an Indian Oil-Adani Gas joint venture, which is building city gas distribution networks in 19 cities. The group sold a 37.4 percent interest in Adani Gas to French energy giant Total for Rs 5,700 crore in October 2020, making it the country’s largest FDI in the city gas distribution market.

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