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New US Investment - Adani's Global Port Ambitions: A Strategic Move in Maritime Dominance

By Ritwik Ghosh,Kolkata India

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In a grand setting in Colombo, Karan Adani proudly declared the fruition of a $553 million US government financing deal for a port terminal, a significant venture by the Adani conglomerate. This announcement not only provided a financial boost but also served as a testament to international support, offering relief to India’s Adani Group amid a turbulent period of short-seller attacks and corporate fraud allegations.

This funding also signifies Washington’s backing for the port empire owned by Karan’s father, billionaire Gautam Adani, a close ally of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The strategic importance lies in curbing China’s maritime influence in the Indian Ocean, a region vital for global bulk cargo traffic and oil shipments.

Chakri Lokapriya, Chief Investment Officer at TCG Asset Management Co. in Mumbai, views Adani’s port ambitions as a strategic move, assisting India in countering China’s ports stretching from Sri Lanka to Pakistan. Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd., considered the conglomerate’s crown jewel, is now eyeing opportunities in neighboring countries, including Bangladesh, East African, and Southeast Asian nations like Tanzania and Vietnam.

In a world shifting focus beyond China, Adani’s expansion mirrors Chinese-style strategic moves, according to Sanjiv Bhasin, Director at Mumbai-based IIFL Securities Ltd.

The US funding for the Adani-led West Container Terminal in Colombo comes as a significant boost after setbacks in overseas expansion efforts, such as abandoning plans for a port in Myanmar post-military coup. Adani faced protests and criticism in Sri Lanka, with accusations of opaque projects imposed by New Delhi. Despite being India’s largest port operator, Adani Ports needs substantial growth to challenge China’s vast influence with over 90 ports outside its borders.

Acknowledging China’s dominance, Michael Kugelman from the Wilson Center notes that Adani and his companies are playing a long game, gradually building investments in South Asia and beyond. Despite Gautam Adani’s public criticism of China, the conglomerate remains anchored in India, with 90% of its revenues coming from domestic business.

While the recent US government loan and investments in green energy are positive signs, increased scrutiny on business practices raises concerns. Adani Ports faces challenges in raising funds amidst tight global markets and high debt costs. Reputational risks have not deterred investors, evident in the resilient performance of Adani’s businesses.

Despite facing a 1.5% fall in shares, Adani Ports demonstrates resilience with a rise in quarterly net income. Analysts point to strong quarterly volume growth and reduced gross debt. Adani’s businesses, though under scrutiny, have proven resilient, and investors, including the US, remain undeterred.

In the quest to compete with Beijing, Adani’s role in disrupting the status quo is acknowledged, yet it remains a challenging task. Signs of China moving away from significant bilateral infrastructure deals may open avenues for players like Adani.

All the information provided above is not written by Escape Title; it is sourced from various reputable outlets. Foundr Magazine India.

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