Gautam Adani tells GSA shareholders that the group will thrive

Dear Shareholders, Good morning.

To say our world is currently in uncharted waters would be an understatement. Amplified inflation, disrupted food supplies, increased human displacement, exposed healthcare systems, stalled education levels, currency instabilities, and faltering job creation are all signs of the damaging effects of the multi-layered crisis that is testing every nation’s resilience.

While there is always a room for debate – looking back to the recent events – one cannot deny that India has emerged far better in its handling of the Covid-19 crisis than most nations. In just the past 18 months, India has administered a staggering 200 crore vaccine doses – that is more than the combined population of three continents: North America, South America, and Europe. I believe the world will see this as a historic learning to draw from. This achievement has no historic parallel – It is a validation of India’s ability to bounce back. It is a validation of India’s resilience.

India has strongly maintained its dignity – as well as held its ground – in the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine. India’s diplomatic position is a sign of its confidence, and every citizen of India must feel proud of the way we have handled ourselves – despite the global pressure to take sides. This is a sign of a new confident India – and a precursor to the future years – in a world of multi-polarity that we must expect to see.

Also, while we have been often lectured on climate change, we have been one of the very few countries that has accelerated its renewable energy footprint – despite the covid crisis – and despite the energy crisis. We have done so at a time when several developed nations have paused their pursuit of renewable energy goals. India’s renewable energy capacity has increased almost 300% since 2015. In fact, the past year saw an astonishing 125% increase in capital investment in renewables compared to 20-21. There is no stopping India now as over 75% of the surging incremental demand that India needs is expected to be met through the addition of renewable energy generation.

In this context, our government must be given credit for the way it has played its role and managed the all-round balancing act.  Also, coming out of the Covid crisis we have become the fastest growing major economy in an environment where several other large economies are confronted with recessionary trends. Given the indications we see from our businesses, I feel confident that India’s projected GDP growth number of 8% over this current year is very achievable.

Let me now talk about our Company. The year 2021-22 was another breakout year for the Adani Group. I have often said that our belief in our past defines our ability to believe in our future, translating into the big bets that we make in the present. Never have we walked away from investing in India, never have we slowed our investments. We believe our scale, our diversified business, and our track record of performance positions us very strongly to continue to perform well in a variety of market conditions. Our belief comes from our confidence in the aspirations of our country and countrymen. The success of the Adani Group is based on its alignment with the India growth story, and it is my strong conviction that there is no other nation that is as well positioned as India.

The best evidence which showcased our confidence and belief in the future – is our investment of $70 billion in facilitating India’s green transition. We are already one of the world’s largest developers of solar power. Our strength in renewables will empower us enormously in the effort to make green hydrogen the fuel of the future. We are leading the race to turn India from a country over-reliant on import of oil and gas, to a country that might one day become a net exporter of clean energy. A transformation which will help reshape India’s energy footprint in an extraordinary way.

Energy, infra and agri

While we now hold a major global renewable energies portfolio, we have made also remarkable progress in several other industries over the past 12 months. In one stroke, we have become the largest airport operator in India. Around these airports that we operate today we are engaged in the adjacent businesses of developing aero-tro-polises and creating localised community based economic centres.

We continue to grow as builders of India’s infrastructure, winning some of the largest road contracts in the nation and growing our already substantial market share in business such as ports, logistics, transmission and distribution, city gas and piped natural gas. Our successful IPO of Adani Wilmar makes us the largest FMCG company in the country. And following the acquisition of Holcim’s assets in India that include two of the most recognised brand names across the country – ACC and Ambuja Cements – we are now the second largest cement manufacturer in India. This is a classic example of our adjacency-based business model at work. In addition, we have also made entries in sectors ranging from data centres, digital super apps, and industrial clouds to defence and aerospace, metals, and materials – all aligned with the Government’s vision of an Atmanirbhar Bharat.

Our combined Group market capitalization this year exceeded US$ 200 billion. We were able to raise billions of dollars from the international markets – a direct validation of confidence in the India and Adani growth story. Our growth and success have been recognised around the world. Several foreign governments are now approaching us to work in their geographies and help build their infrastructure. Therefore, in 2022, we also laid the foundation to seek a broader expansion beyond India’s boundaries.

Market capitalisation and cash flows

Our rising market capitalisation has been supported by a robust and sustained growth in our cash flows. Our focus on operational excellence across our portfolio and the accretive capacity addition delivered an EBITDA growth of 26%. Portfolio EBITDA stood at INR 42,623 crores. This diversified growth in FY22 was reflected across our range of businesses. Our utility portfolio grew by 26%, our transport and logistics portfolio grew by 19%, our FMCG portfolio grew by 34%, and Adani Enterprises Limited, our incubator business, grew by 45%. AEL’s unique business model has no parallel and we intend to leverage this further. The high growth of AEL provides the Group with a reliable foundation for the continued development of new businesses for yet another big decade.

While we may look back and feel content, it is only now that we are gathering real momentum. What we have been able to achieve in two decades – is become India’s largest integrated infrastructure business based on a rapid extension into adjacent businesses. This has resulted in our transformation into an integrated ‘platform of platforms’ that combines an energy platform with a logistics platform – both of which help us with unprecedented access to the Indian consumer. I today know of no company that has such an unique business model with potential access to an unlimited B2B and B2C market for the next several decades.

Optimism

I am an incurable optimist. I always believed India is one the greatest countries for an entrepreneur to learn, develop and flourish. Today, I see a real drive in the youth to reclaim our economic stature and gain back our position as a primary force in global affairs.

Like I have said in the past – the largest middle class that will ever exist will be Indian – this will be augmented by an increase in the working age and consuming population share that will stay globally unmatched for several decades. All of this will have a significant positive impact on India’s economic growth and be an outcome of our demographic dividend.

A crucial piece of this jigsaw will be a better-trained, better-educated, healthier, and technologically nimble workforce – and a belief that they can achieve their aspirations and improve their quality of life. I have no doubt we will see this unfold over the next decade.

Special meanings

It is here that I want to take a moment to reflect on 2022 as a year with special personal meaning. It represents the 100th birth anniversary of my inspiring and role model father Shri Shantilal Adani, and also my 60th birthday. To mark this milestone, the Adani family came together and decided to contribute Rs. 60,000 crore towards charitable activities related to healthcare, education, and skill development, focussing especially on rural India. These three areas should be seen holistically, rather than separately, as they collectively form the drivers for an equitable and future-ready India.

We have an opportunity in India to lift tens of millions of people permanently out of poverty. We owe it not only to ourselves but also to our country. Our experience in large project planning and execution and the learnings from the ongoing work done by the Adani Foundation will help us uniquely accelerate and implement these programmes across the segments of the societies that need them the most.

My optimism about our nation has never been higher. Optimism comes from resilience. Resilience comes from belief. And belief is optimism.

In our case, it is the resilience that India demonstrates. It is the optimism I see in the eyes of our people, and it is the belief in the India growth story that keeps the Adani Group going.

COMMENTS

Comments can be posted to RNB@asiaconverge.com
SHARE
Previous articleMajor financial turbulence ahead.  INR may weaken further
Next articleChina-India Youth Dialogue Held in Beijing
Journalist. Educationist. Researcher www.asiaconverge.com focusses primarily on business, economy and policy related issues RN Bhaskar has authored Game India: Seven strategic advantages that could steer India to wealth - http://www.asiaconverge.com/2019/02/game-india-seven-strategic-advantages-can-steer-india-wealth/ Currently consulting editor with FPJ and Founder Editor with Asiaconverge.com. He teaches at educational institutes in India and overseas. He also undertakes specific research projects in select areas. EmailLRNB@asiaconverge.com Many of the policy reports are available as free downloads from https://www.freepressjournal.in/fpj-initiatives/the-free-press-journal-published-books