Billionaire Adani to inject $2.5bn in cement company his son will now helm

World’s second-richest man is making the cement units a growth engine for his infrastructure empire

Gautam Adani is seeking to strengthen his infrastructure empire that includes ports, utilities and power generation. AFP
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Billionaire Gautam Adani will inject 200 billion rupees ($2.5bn) into a cement company and get his son to oversee the newly acquired business, as the world’s second-richest man seeks to strengthen his infrastructure empire that includes ports, utilities and power generation.

“What makes cement an exciting business is the headroom for growth in India, which exceeds that of every other country well beyond 2050,” Mr Adani said on Friday.

He said his group’s diverse businesses provide “unmatched adjacencies” for the cement business.

Ambuja Cement, a company Adani Group acquired in May, will issue 477.48 million warrants to Harmonia Trade and Investment — a company linked to the Adani family — at 418.87 rupees each, according to a stock exchange filing on Friday, in what is one of the biggest preferential allotment for any Indian company.

Each warrant can be converted into one share each within 18 months of issuance.

Mr Adani was appointed a board director and chairman of Ambuja Cements. His elder son, Karan Adani, 35, will be a director on the boards of both Ambuja Cements and ACC, as well as being ACC’s chairman.

The ports-to-power conglomerate went from being a fringe player to India’s second-largest cement maker after it bought the two companies from Switzerland’s Holcim in May for $10.5bn — Mr Adani’s biggest acquisition so far.

The acquisition gave Mr Adani’s group an installed production capacity of 67.5 million tonnes annually.

The recent announcements show the tycoon is making the cement units a growth engine for his empire, fortifying a logistics chain that includes seaports, airports, real estate and coal.

Mr Adani has been rapidly diversifying beyond his traditional fossil fuel roots to branch into data centres, digital services, telecoms and media.

Gautam Adani has been rapidly diversifying beyond his traditional fossil fuel roots to branch into data centres, digital services, telecoms and media. Bloomberg

Besides bringing in his son, the Indian billionaire is also planning to enlist key senior executives to help grow the cement business and mentor Karan.

The scion is also expected to find synergies between the group’s ports and cements businesses to create an integrated logistics company.

Mr Adani has surged to prominence this year, as a leap in his fortune made him one of the richest people on the planet in a matter of months, leapfrogging compatriot Mukesh Ambani and business leaders including Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett.

Mr Adani, who started the year as No 14 on the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, now has a $146.9bn fortune that trails only Elon Musk’s $260bn.

A combination of soaring coal prices and rocketing equity gains fuelled the wealth surge, which has enabled his conglomerate to supercharge its ambitions and diversify at high speed.

The tycoon is also making a $70bn bet on green energy, a shift that has been criticised by some as an attempt to greenwash the group’s coal focus.

Adani Group’s position as one of the largest renewable energy companies globally will facilitate manufacture of “premium quality green cement”, Mr Adani said.

“All of these dimensions put us on track to become the largest and most efficient manufacturer of cement by no later than 2030,” he said.

Updated: September 17, 2022, 9:09 AM
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