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JP Morgan Throws Lifeline to Adani Green: Bribery Charge Deemed

JP Morgan downplays bribery allegations against Adani Green, citing transparency in India's renewable energy sector. While downgrading Azure Power, JP Morgan maintains its positive outlook on Adani Group's bonds, highlighting minimal financial impact and strong fundamentals.

JP Morgan Throws Lifeline to Adani Green: Bribery Charge Deemed

JP Morgan Casts Doubt on Adani Green Bribery Charge

In a recent report, JP Morgan, a leading global investment bank, expressed skepticism regarding the bribery allegations against Adani Green, a prominent player in India's renewable energy sector. This comes after a Bloomberg report raised concerns about a potential investigation by the US Department of Justice (DoJ) into bribery practices by an Adani Group entity and Azure Power Global.

 

Transparency in Renewable Energy Procurement: A Shield Against Corruption?

JP Morgan's primary argument hinges on the high level of transparency ingrained in India's renewable energy tendering process. The extensive oversight minimizes the likelihood of significant corruption or bribery occurring during project allocation. This transparency offers a layer of protection for companies like Adani Green who participate in these tenders.

 

Limited Financial Impact: A Calculated Risk?

While acknowledging the ongoing investigation, JP Morgan downplays its potential financial impact on Adani Green. The report emphasizes that even if the investigation progresses to prosecution and a finding of bribery is established, the financial consequences are likely to be minimal. Based on this assessment, JP Morgan maintains its current recommendations for Adani Group bonds.

 

A Different Fate for Azure Power?

While JP Morgan remains confident in Adani Green's fundamentals, the same can't be said for Azure Power. The brokerage firm downgraded Azure Power to "Neutral" due to "tight valuations amid the noise." This cautious approach highlights the potential reputational risk associated with the ongoing investigation, even for companies not directly accused of wrongdoing.

 

A Closer Look at the Project in Question

The Bloomberg report linked the alleged bribery to a 12GW solar energy project awarded by the Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) in January 2020. This project was jointly secured by Adani Green (8GW allocation) and Azure Power (4GW). However, JP Morgan clarifies that the project is still under construction and not financed by any of the restricted group bonds issued by either company.

 

JPMorgan's Stance on Adani Group Bonds

Despite the recent allegations, JP Morgan reaffirms its positive outlook on Adani Group bonds. The breakdown includes:

  • Overweight: Across all bonds on Adani Ports & Special Economic Zones
  • Overweight: On Adani Transmission
  • Underweight: On Adani Green Energy (maintained prior to the bribery allegations)
  • Neutral: On Adani Electricity Mumbai Ltd. dollar bonds

 

Looking Ahead: Uncertainty and Scrutiny

The ongoing investigation by the US DoJ casts a shadow of uncertainty over Adani Green and the broader Indian renewable energy sector. While JP Morgan downplays the financial impact, the reputational damage cannot be ignored. Transparency in project allocation and ethical business practices will be crucial for companies like Adani Green to navigate this challenging situation and maintain investor confidence.

 


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