Bribery ‘highly unlikely’ for Adani Group due to robust transparency in energy sector in India: JP Morgan

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New Delhi, March 19 (IANS) Given the high level of transparency involved in various renewable energy tenders floated in India, the scope for corruption and bribery looks “highly unlikely” for the Adani Group, a JP Morgan report said on Tuesday, adding that the global brokerage firm is not changing its views on the global conglomerate.

Over the weekend, Bloomberg reported that prosecutors from the US Attorney Office and Justice Department (DoJ) are looking at an Adani Group entity and Azure Power Global around potential bribery investigations.

The global brokerage firm said in its latest note that they looked at the legal basis of such investigations and the potential impact.

“Overall, as details are very scant and the investigation itself might not lead to any successful prosecution, with likely limited potential financial/fundamental impact, we do not make changes to our recommendations at this stage for the Adani Group. For Azure Power, we move to Neutral due to tight valuations amid the noise,” said JP Morgan.

The news article highlights an Adani Group entity that was potentially involved in “paying officials in India for favorable treatment on an energy project”.

“Based on the profile of USD bond issuers from the group, this could be related to Adani Green Energy. The association with Azure Power in the same article also reportedly points to this,” according to the report.

Notably, there is one 12GW manufacturing-linked solar energy project that was signed by both Adani Green (8GW allocation) and Azure Power (4GW) with SECI (Solar Energy Corporation of India) in January 2020.

“This project remains under construction and does not form part of any of the Restricted Group bonds from these two entities,” the report mentioned.

Overall, assuming this is related to the renewable energy project of the companies, “we believe such provisions are highly unlikely to lead to a material financial impact even if the reported investigation moves to the prosecution stage and thereupon establishment of an instance of bribery”.

“Given the high level of transparency involved in various renewable energy tenders floated in India, the scope for significant corruption and bribery looks highly unlikely to us”.

On Azure Power, the firm said that “we remain comfortable on the fundamentals here, where the recent bond buyback (as stipulated in bond covenants) highlights continued good operating cash flows at the two RG bonds”.



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