India's Adani Group continues to seek equity partners, says CreditSights

The logo of the Adani Group is seen on the facade of one of its buildings on the outskirts of Ahmedabad

NEW DELHI (Reuters) -India's ports-to-energy conglomerate Adani Group continues to seek strategic equity partners aligned with its long-term investment strategy, debt research firm CreditSights said in a report, flagging concern over the group's elevated leverage.

The group, led by Asia's richest person Gautam Adani, is looking to expand its presence in power generation and infrastructure and ventured into cement-making operations earlier this year.

Chairman Adani said late in September that the group will invest more than $100 billion over the next decade, most of it in the energy transition business.

CreditSights said the conglomerate is venturing into new or unrelated businesses which are highly capital intensive.

It has plans for four business verticals including energy and utility, transport and logistics, materials metals and mining, and consumer, said CreditSights.

In response to a Reuters request for comment, a spokesperson for the group shared the company's portfolio, which lists its investment plans over the next ten years.

"All capital management plans are on track, as committed during past 3 years," the document stated.

There has been continued deleveraging and a progressive improvement in ratings, the document said. It did not mention whether the group is seeking equity partners.

"We still hold our view that several of the Group companies maintain elevated leverage owing to aggressive expansion plans, that are largely debt-funded and that have pressurized their credit metrics and cash flows," said the CreditSights report dated Nov. 4, which was shared with Reuters on Monday.

The research firm, part of the Fitch Group, said it remained "concerned" over the group's leverage.

"We expect its expansion and acquisition appetite to remain robust ahead, and incremental debt on account of expansion to outpace additional EBITDA generation, which could result in further credit profile deterioration," said CreditSights.

The combined market capitalisation of the group’s listed companies is $260 billion, growing exponentially in recent years.

CreditSights added that the group continues to seek strategic equity partners that are aligned with its long-term investment strategy, such as sovereign wealth funds, and also maintains strong relationships with existing partners.

(Reporting by Shivam Patel in New Delhi; Editing by Stephen Coates and Mark Potter)