Billionaire Gautam Adani was knocked back to the No. 3 position among Asia’s richest people within a few weeks of grabbing the second spot, as the Indian business tycoon lost $13 billion in four days following a massive sell-off in shares of Adani group companies. Adani currently has a net worth of $63.5 billion, sharply lower than the $76.7 billion at the start of this week.
Mukesh Ambani, who controls the retail-to-oil conglomerate Reliance Industries Ltd, continues to top Asia’s rich list with a net worth of $84 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaire Index.
China’s Zhong Shanshan regained the second spot from Adani. The Indian business magnate had in April overtaken Zhong when shares of the Adani group almost doubled since January.
Shares of Adani group companies have plummeted this week following a sell-off on Monday after reports that accounts of some major foreign investors holding these shares have been frozen.
In the past five trading sessions, among the group’s half a dozen listed firms, Adani Transmission Ltd, Adani Total Gas Ltd and Adani Power Ltd lost more than 20%, and Special Economic Zone Ld and Adani Green Energy Ltd lost more than 10% and Adani Enterprises Ltd lost 6.64%.
The combined market value of these companies plunged from $76.7 billion to $63.5 billion this week after a media report said India’s National Securities Depository Ltd (NSDL) froze three accounts of key foreign portfolio investors (FPIs) having a major stake in four of the six listed Adani group firms.
The accounts of Albula Investment Fund, Cresta Fund and APMS Investment Fund were frozen on or before May 31, according to the depository’s website, the report said.
Meanwhile, APMS Investment Fund said in a statement on Monday that NSDL’s entry showed only a technical account-level freeze, and that its global trading operations continue to run normally.
“The subject fund is not frozen by any means and maintains full as well as normal trading operations globally,” it said. Adani group, too, said in a statement that as per a written confirmation from the registrar and transfer agent, the demat accounts of the offshore funds in which Adani shares were held “are not frozen”.
In the past four days, Zhong’s net worth also dropped from $71.2 billion to $63.5 billion after his firm Nongfu Spring’s stock price fell 2.32%. However, despite the Chinese billionaire’s decline in market value, Adani could not hold on to the second spot.
The rise in Adani’s wealth was driven by an aggressive growth strategy that saw the group expand its business through large acquisitions across the infrastructure domain.