Wednesday, February 15, 2023

Adani Story 2: Leverage & Listings of the Uber Rich

 The exact numbers on Adani's leverage are all over the press.  Thinking further ....

1. The leverage numbers quoted in the press are based on published information.  Borrowing companies need to show the loans in their balance sheet at the end of the year.  Promoter pledging of shares in listed companies too needs to be disclosed by the company.  But what if the borrower is not a corporate entity? What if the security is created in a round about way that does not fall within the mischief of pledge reporting? What if accommodation entries help in reducing the year-end loan figure? Thus, it is not inconceivable that the total system leverage (company + promoter) is more than the numbers floating around.

2. We have so many listings of the Uber Rich.  The easy part is to obtain information about shareholding and multiply it by share price to arrive at a figure for "public" wealth of the individual.  The difficult part is unravelling leverage of the type mentioned above. If I were to own 1million shares of a company that appreciates later by Rs10 per share, against which I secure a private loan of Rs6million and blow it all away.  My "public" wealth would go up by 1million shares X Rs10 per share i.e. Rs10million; but my "real" wealth, net of the loan, would go up by only Rs4million. How reliable are such listings of the uber rich based on "public" wealth?

3. A separate point on the uber rich listings.  Godrej group owns so much of land in Mumbai through various entities.  The publishers who report the wealth of the uber rich will not even be aware of the extent of such real estate holding, forget its value. So many such Godrejs may be ultra wealthy, but below the radar of such listings.

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