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Wilmar stands by India associate with JV partner with Adani Group

Bloomberg1/31/2023 08:18 PM GMT+08  • 3 min read
Wilmar stands by India associate with JV partner with Adani Group
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Food giant Wilmar International will continue to support its joint venture with India’s under-fire Adani Group, saying a report from short-seller Hindenburg Research had not raised any issues specific to the unit.

The day-to-day operations of Adani Wilmar are managed by an independent team of professional managers and the board is chaired by an independent director, Singapore-based Wilmar said in an emailed response to questions from Bloomberg News. In running the venture, Wilmar contributes expertise on the commodity and consumer-food-products businesses, while Adani provides local logistical and regulatory support, the company said on Tuesday.

The sprawling Adani Group, controlled by tycoon Gautam Adani, has been rocked to its core in recent days after Hindenburg Research accused the conglomerate of widespread corporate malfeasance, including market manipulation and accounting fraud. In a bitter showdown that’s riveted investors worldwide, the allegations have prompted steep falls in the companies’ share prices despite a lengthy rebuttal from Adani Group.

“We will continue to support our Indian associate,” Wilmar said, adding that Adani Wilmar, which was recently listed India’s National Stock Exchange and Bombay Stock Exchange, had undergone a full initial public offering process under the scrutiny of regulators. The joint-venture was incorporated in 1999, and is now one of India’s fastest-growing packaged-food companies, supplying essentials such as edible oil, wheat flour, rice, pulses, and sugar.

Despite Wilmar’s supportive comments, shares in Adani Wilmar dropped again on Tuesday, losing ground together with other Adani-linked stocks. Adani Wilmar closed at the lowest level since March 2022, with losses over the past four sessions nearing about 20%.

Other partners also weighed in. French energy giant TotalEnergies SE, which owns stakes in Adani Total Gas and Adani Green Energy Ltd., said its investments were undertaken in full compliance with Indian laws and its own internal governance processes. It declined to comment on speculative reports.

See also: Q&M to award non dentist employees with shares in change to performance share plan

“Our due diligence exercise, which was carried out to TotalEnergies’ satisfaction, was consistent with best practices,” the company said in a statement. “All relevant material in the public domain was reviewed, including the detailed disclosures to regulators required under applicable laws.”

A spokesman for South Korea’s Posco Group said the company is closely monitoring the situation and Adani’s response. It signed a deal last year with Adani Group to explore business opportunities, including the setting up of a green steel mill in Gujarat, with potential investments of up to US$5 billion.

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