India’s Adani Group is to invest more than US$100 billion over the next decade, most of it in the energy transition business, chairman Gautam Adani said yesterday, as the ports-to-energy conglomerate accelerates an already aggressive expansion plan.
After founding the group in 1988 as a commodities trading business, the 60-year-old has ventured into multiple sectors, mainly in the infrastructure space and in line with the priorities of the government of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“As a group, we will invest over US$100 billion of capital in the next decade,” Adani, the world’s second-richest person, told the Forbes Global CEO Conference in Singapore.
“We have earmarked 70 percent of this investment for the energy transition space. We are already the world’s largest solar player, and we intend to do far more,” he said.
He did not say how the investments would be financed. Debt research firm CreditSights said earlier this month it was concerned about the group’s leverage, though the group said its ratios were healthy and in line with industry benchmarks.
Adani has a personal fortune of US$143 billion, according to Forbes, behind only Tesla Inc chief executive officer Elon Musk. The combined market capitalization of the group’s listed companies is US$260 billion, growing exponentially in recent years.
The Adani Group has announced deals worth billions of dollars this year alone, the biggest one being its US$10.5 billion acquisition of Holcim AG’s cement businesses in India — Ambuja Cements Ltd and ACC Ltd.
Gautam Adani said the group wanted to be an inexpensive producer of green hydrogen — which is extracted from water using electrolysis in a process powered by renewable energy.
He said the group was in the process of building a 10 gigawatt (GW) silicon-based photovoltaic chain, a 10GW wind-turbine manufacturing facility and a 5GW hydrogen electrolyzer factory.
“It is an absolute game changer for India and opens up the unprecedented possibility that India could one day become a net energy exporter,” he said.
India is the world’s third-largest crude importer and consumer.
Adani said his group was India’s largest airport operator, with 25 percent of passenger traffic and 40 percent of air cargo. It is also the largest ports and logistics company in India with a 30 percent market share.
Adani also said China would feel increasingly isolated, as rising nationalism, shifts in supply chains and technology curbs threaten the world’s second-biggest economy.
China’s Belt and Road Initiative has run into resistance in many countries, challenging Beijing’s global ambitions, he said.
The property meltdown there has drawn comparisons with what happened to Japan during the “lost decade” of the 1990s, he added.
“While I expect all these economies will readjust over time — and bounce back — the friction to the bounce-back looks far harder this time,” Adani said.
Additional reporting by Bloomberg
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