The EU India Chambers partnered with the Free Press Journal to organize a Discussion on “India: Investment, Trade and Adani” based on the book “Gautam Adani: Reimagining Business Solutions in India and the world”. The event was held on 7th December 2022 at the terrace of the Free Press Journal, Mumbai followed by cocktails & dinner. It was attended by several Consul Generals, senior bankers from private, foreign and government owned banks.

The discussion was held between the author, Mr. R N Bhaskar and Mr. Abizer Diwanji, Senior Partner, EY. The book looks into Mr. Adani’s journey and rise that has influenced the business in India and the world.

The discussion began with a query from Mr. Diwanji as to what inspired Mr. Bhaskar to write the book. To this Mr. Bhaskar replied that the book was an accident. An accidental first meeting with Mr. Adani in 2007 and several times thereafter. Then in 2013, he got to meet the family and senior strategy planners from within the group. The family wanted him to write a limited edition book on Mr. Adani’s 50th birthday. Only 25 copies were printed. These meetings gave Mr. Bhaskar a ringside view of the businessman and his strategic planners. And it was only in early 2022, he got Mr. Adani’s consent to publish an independent (non-sponsored) book on him and his corporate strategy.

Further, Mr. Bhaskar added that his first article on Mr. Adani in 2007 was named “The Man Who Could Change India” and by 2018 Mr. Adani has indeed changed India. The tittle was prophetic. With his rise in global rankings, this book could not have come at a better time. Diving more into Mr. Adani’s career, Mr. Bhaskar continued that Mr. Adani started his career as a trader before becoming an industrialist as much like Mr. Azim Premji of Wipro. A trader smells money more quickly than others. But a trader thinks short term. An industrialist needs to think long terms. That is why few traders make this transition of trader to industrialist. Had it not been for his trade instincts, Mundra port would not have been what it is today. To manage the high costs of building a port, Adani chose to build it modularly. He built specific jetties for specific commodities – trading in which was already a profitable opportunity. He began with coal that got him money and then moved to other things. One of the reasons why Adani succeeded was because he consciously chose to align national interests with his own business interests. With coal he catered to the energy security interests of India. Ditto with the defence sector, strategic ports and investment in airports and data services.

Moving ahead Mr. Bhaskar shared Mr. Adani’s business strategy and said that Mr. Adani is not sentimental about any project he enters into. The moment he sees it draining management time without the potential of becoming one of the top three players in India, he moves out of the business. The ability to implement quickly is another factor. That is why governments trust him with executing large projects in their respective states.

The session concluded with questions towards Mr. Adani’s investments into the Haifa port. In reply Mr. Bhaskar said that since Adani already has several defence joint ventures with Israel, and since he also has the ability to bring business to ports, he manages to get the requisite clearances for acquiring the ownership of Haifa port. This port is of immense strategic significance. There were many questions raised by the participants and Mr Bhaskar replied to all with citing many of his interactions with Mr Adani.