Modi’s Slim Victory Wipes $25 Billion Off Adani’s Wealth in Worst One-Day Rout

(Bloomberg) -- For Gautam Adani, an underwhelming election win for Narendra Modi’s party is worse than a short-seller attack.

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The Indian tycoon’s wealth tumbled by almost $25 billion Tuesday, the biggest one-day loss for an Asian billionaire ever, after the Modi-led political alliance failed to deliver the landslide electoral victory predicted by exit polls.

All 10 Adani Group stocks plummeted, wiping out almost $45 billion in group market value. It was the biggest single-day rout the $189 billion conglomerate has faced, dwarfing the hit from Hindenburg Research’s allegations of corporate malfeasance over a year ago.

Adani’s wealth wipeout was the fourth-largest one-day decline on record caused by market swings, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The steep loss, exceeded only by Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg, toppled Adani as Asia’s richest person and left his fortune at $97.5 billion.

On Monday, bullish exit polls for Modi boosted the Adani Group’s market value by $20 billion.

Adani’s rapid descent from one of the year’s biggest wealth gainers is a stark reminder that investors see his conglomerate’s fortunes as being tied to Modi’s mandate as India’s leader. The Adani Group and its founder have maintained that they have no improper relationship with the government and can execute their ambitious infrastructure projects under any administration.

Nevertheless, Adani knows he’s a heatscore in India’s election, with opposition leaders frequently invoking his name at campaign rallies and Modi himself unexpectedly accusing his rivals of receiving illegal cash from the billionaire at one point in the long campaign.

A coterie of advisers have asked the tycoon to avoid posting anything on social media about initial electoral results, said a person familiar with the matter, counseling him to say quiet until the new federal government is formed.

The Adani Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Both Modi and Adani hail from the western Indian state of Gujarat and have risen in tandem, with the tycoon’s sprawling business built on a close alignment with Modi’s nation-building priorities in infrastructure, green energy, defense and digital services.

Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd. and Adani Energy Solutions Ltd. led the pack’s losses, with shares plunging 21% and 20% respectively. Flagship Adani Enterprises Ltd. nosedived 19% on Tuesday.

While this was the steepest single-day stock drop for the Adani group, overall losses in the wake of the Hindenburg attack last year were bigger, crossing $150 billion at their peak. The group had regained almost all of that value through Monday’s close.

More broadly, India’s NSE Nifty 50 Index tumbled 5.9% Tuesday, its worst day in more than four years as investors fretted that a slim victory for the Modi-led coalition would hinder the new government’s ability to push through reforms.

--With assistance from Jack Witzig.

(Recasts with Adani’s wealth drop throughout)

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