French TotalEnergies is putting on hold its plans to take a 25% stake in embattled Adani Group’s $50 billion hydrogen project, pending what it has called “clarity” over recent allegations that have caused Adan’s stock to plunge and even led to anti-government street protests in India.
As one of Adani’s biggest foreign investors with existing stakes in Adani’s gas and renewable energy companies totalling over $3 billion, TotalEnergies’ CEO Patrick Pouyanne said during an earnings call that “it makes no sense to add more [projects] until there is clarity. Adani has to explain the allegations”.
TotalEnergies, in June 2022, announced it would take a 25% equity in Adani New Industries ltd (ANIL), which would invest $50 billion over a decade in a green hydrogen project that planned to produce 1 million tonnes of green hydrogen before 2030.
A short seller report has accused Adani of various fraudulent practices, resulting in the Adani companies losing tens of billions of dollars when investors exited in a panic. The report also led Adani Group to cancel a $2.5-billion share offering.
The incident has also led to protests in India, with hundreds of opposition party demonstrators taking to the street in New Delhi, calling on Prime Minister Narenda Modi to order an investigation into the Adani Group.
On February 6, the Adani Group said its major investors had pledged to prepay $1.1 billion in share-backed loans that mature in September 2024, leading to a 9% jump in one Adani stock, Adani Ports & Special Economic Zone.
TotalEnergies has shares in Adani Green Energy Ltd and city gas unit Adani Total Gas Ltd. With respect to its existing investments in Adani, Pouyanne said in the latest earnings call that the investments are performing well, with “healthy” assets and revenue.
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