Gautam Adani debunks GDP rhetoric, urges global investors to bet on long-term ‘India Opportunity’

Amid global concerns on the pandemic-induced economic slowdown and its impact on the world’s future, Gautam Adani, Chairman of the Adani Group, infused hope in the international investors’ community while speaking at the JP Morgan India Summit – Future in Focus on September 24, 2020.

The first generation entrepreneur coaxed the audience to look at opportunities through his ‘optimist’ lenses. “As an entrepreneur, I am an optimist, and therefore the lenses through which I see opportunities may be different than some of yours. I recognize that the view - you cannot build a long-term future on short term thinking - may not be in alignment with the objectives of certain priorities of the investment community,” he said.

Emphasizing on his robust belief in India’s future he added that short-term outlook may not be the ideal approach for a nation that houses 1.3 Bn people. “I will state without any hesitation – that – in my view - over the next three decades, India is the world’s greatest business opportunity.”

Gautam Adani debunks GDP rhetoric, urges global investors to bet on long-term ‘India Opportunity’

Split into four broad dimensions, the thought-provoking discourse started with the far-reaching consequences of COVID19 and how opportunities for India are likely to accelerate on the other side of the crisis. The argument was backed with strong perspective such as India’s geostrategic position and massive market size giving it an edge over its global peers amid the fundamental political realignment of nations taking shape with the QUAD discussion being a precursor.

He further reiterated the potential of the Atma Nirbhar program to be a game-changer, India’s advantage from the crumbling supply chain infrastructure that stands exposed by COVID19 and our nation’s strong head start in digital transformation.

Another clutter-breaking view that Mr. Adani presented to the forum was to stop viewing all nations through old western growth metrics. The curator of India’s largest and most diversified infrastructure platform, said, “Democracy cannot take a cookie-cutter approach and we should accept that different nations will have their own flavor of democracy and capitalism.”

He added, “The current focus on standardized GDP predictions - as against truly understanding what a nation could look like over a decade - has unfortunately become one of the primary elements for measuring the health of an economy. In my view, patience and long-term planning and most importantly, an alignment with the Government’s business agenda is what creates the greatest value”

Speaking of challenges holding back India, Mr. Adani said that India needs USD1.5 to 2 Trillion of capital over the next decade but despite key structural reforms such as the National Investment and Infrastructure Fund and Credit Enhancement Fund, capital structure challenge, and lack of empowered and independent regulators remain bottlenecks to nation-building and investment opportunities in India.

Mr. Gautam Adani then took the audience on a virtual tour of the Adani Group’s journey, its contribution to nation-building, Indian economy and its overarching philosophy of Growth with Goodness.

“We basically build infrastructure that enables “flow”. The the flow of goods and materials, the flow of electrons, the flow of people, and the flow of data. This focus on helping build India’s infrastructure forms the core of our “Nation Building” philosophy,” said the man reminiscing a 30 year+ legacy.

This vision to build India, enabled the Adani Group, to enter sectors facing critical demand gaps and growth through expansion into adjacent sectors. Its incubation model of nurturing new businesses within the flagship company, Adani Enterprises Limited (AEL) led to the creation of 6 publicly-traded companies which created thousands of jobs and delivered unprecedented value to its shareholders.

“A one-rupee investment in Adani Enterprises, that was our the first IPO in 1994, has returned over 800X,” he said.

From emerging as a market leader across its various businesses of thermal power, renewables. Ports & logistics, gas distribution to foraying into new sectors aligned to new India’s needs such as Airports, Aerospace & Defence and Data Centres, Mr. Adani said that his group has built India’s largest infrastructure business that is now manifesting itself as an integrated “platform of platforms”. “This platform helps us bridge the B2B to B2C gap in unique ways and provide to India its largest physical “Infrastructure as a Service” platform.”

The talk concluded on the most optimistic note. He said, that every crisis helps the world build its own level of immunity and it emerges stronger on the other side.

“For the sake of the fans of the GDP metric – let’s look at some statistics. The global GDP in 1990 was $38 trillion. Today, 30 years later, this number is $90 trillion. Projecting out another 30 years in 2050 the global GDP is expected to be about $170 trillion with India has become the second-largest economy in the world.”