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MSCI to Cut Weighting of Four Adani Firms in Wake of Hindenburg Report

Feb 10 (Reuters) - Index provider MSCI said it will cut the weightings of four Adani Group companies, including flagship firm Adani Enterprises, in its indexes after reassessing the number of shares that are freely traded.

The move comes in the wake of a Jan. 24 report by U.S. short seller Hindenburg Research that has accused the Indian conglomerate of stock manipulation and improper use of offshore tax havens that obscure the extent of stock ownership of Adani family members in group firms. The group has denied any wrongdoing.

The Hindenburg report has plunged the group, led by billionaire Gautam Adani, into crisis, wiping some $110 billion off the value of the group's main seven listed firms.

In addition to Adani Enterprises - the group's coal-miner-cum-incubator for new projects, MSCI said it plans to cut the weightings for Adani Total Gas - a venture with France's TotalEnergies and Adani Transmission, a power transmission company.

It will also reduce the weighting of ACC, a major Indian cement company the Adani Group acquired from Holcim last year and which is not one of the group's main seven listed firms.

The four companies had a combined 0.4% weighting in the MSCI emerging markets index as of Jan. 30. The changes come into effect on March 1.

Adani Group did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Reuters on Friday.

Hindenburg founder Nathan Anderson tweeted on Thursday when MSCI flagged the changes, that his firm viewed the decisions as a "validation of our findings".

Adani Enterprises dropped 1.6% in Friday morning trade while Adani Transmission and Adani Total Gas slid 5%, down by its daily limit. Shares in ACC were down 1%.

"The lower free float will require passive investors to sell stock to reduce their tracking error with the index," said Brian Freitas, a Periscope Analytics analyst who publishes on Smartkarma.

He estimated there would be around $570 million to sell by passive funds across Adani Enterprises, Adani Total Gas and Adani Transmission on Feb. 28.

Reporting by Scott Murdoch in Sydney and Rodrigo Campos in New York, Chris Thomas in Bengaluru and Tanvi Mehta in New Delhi; Editing by Edwina Gibbs

Source: Reuters

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