BENGALURU (Reuters) -Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of ports-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group, said it would raise 200 billion Indian rupees ($2.45 billion) in India's largest follow-on public offering of new shares.
The proposed fund raise comes as the group led by Gautam Adani, the world's third richest person, aggressively expands into sectors such as cement and healthcare, amid some concerns about its elevated debt levels and large promoter shareholding.
The share offering would increase the company's public float from the current 27.4% level. Rival Reliance Industries' public float stands at around 49%.
"Adani needs capital at the holding company level. It is the flagship company. They need money for a lot of the new initiatives they are seeding, acquisitions and for new projects," said a source with direct knowledge of the transaction.
The group has made acquisitions worth $13.8 billion so far this year, as per Dealogic data, its highest ever in a year and more than double the previous year.
Adani's acquisitions this year include Ambuja Cements and ACC for $10.5 billion. It has also launched a takeover of Indian news channel NDTV.
Adani, whose empire spans gas and power projects as well as a ports and logistics business, said in September his company would invest more than $100 billion over the next decade, with 70% earmarked for the energy transition space.
The company plans to file a draft prospectus before Dec. 31 and raise the funds before March 31, but it will depend on market conditions, the person added.
Adani did not immediately respond to Reuters' queries on the fundraising timeline and rationale.
Debt research firm CreditSights, part of the Fitch Group, had previously said Adani would continue to seek strategic equity partners after flagging concerns over the group's elevated debt levels.
Adani Enterprises stock has jumped nearly 130% this year, up to last close, vastly outperforming a 6.5% rise in the blue-chip Nifty 50 index.
FPOs are done by already listed companies to diversify their equity shareholding. The previous largest FPO was a 150 billion-rupee share sale in 2020 by Yes Bank.
($1 = 81.5500 Indian rupees)
(Reporting by Akansha Victor, Chris Thomas and Rama Venkat in Bengaluru, M. Sriram in Mumbai; Editing by Dhanya Ann Thoppil and Anil D'Silva)