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Adani cut its UK audit bill in half by dumping a Big 4 firm for a much smaller rival, filings show as scrutiny of its safeguards deepens

Gautam Adani sitting at a conference summitChairman and founder of the Adani Group Gautam Adani seen during the News18 Rising India Summit on February 25, 2019 in New Delhi, India.

Sanjeev Verma/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

  • Short-seller Hindenburg has attacked Adani’s use of small auditors in a report alleging fraud.
  • The Indian conglomerate dropped Deloitte for the 12th largest auditor in the UK, per Accountancy Age.
  • Adani stocks have lost about $118 billion in value amid a weekslong rout after the short-seller’s bombshell attack.

Adani Group cut its audit bill in the UK nearly in half by dropping Big 4 accounting group Deloitte for the country’s 12th largest firm.

Corporate filings first analyzed by the Financial Times and seen by Insider show the embattled Indian conglomerate, in turmoil following a report by short-seller Hindenburg into its business practices, used Deloitte for audits of its 10 UK-listed companies under Adani Energy Holdings Limited in 2021.

Last year, the group switched to Crowe UK to handle its audits. Adani’s audit bill subsequently dropped from £257,000 (around $309,000) in 2021 to £143,000 (around $172,000) in 2022. 

Crowe UK audited Adani’s UK-listed renewable energy companies after the Indian group switched from Deloitte, following its acquisition of the group of power plants for $3.5 billion from SoftBank Group and Bharti Enterprises in 2021.

According to its website, Crowe UK is the country’s ninth-largest accounting firm by a measure of fee income. A ranking by trade publication Accountancy Age listed Crowe as the 12 biggest firm in the UK. The global arm of Crowe sits outside the world’s top six accountancy firms in Accountancy Age’s international ranking.

This clashes with Adani’s 413-page rebuttal to Hindenburg’s report, where it said its portfolio companies “follow a stated policy of having global big 6 or regional leaders as Statutory Auditors.”

Hindenburg has accused the Indian conglomerate of stock market manipulation and fraud and highlighted several unusual business practices, as it revealed it held a short position on Adani stocks.  

One of the “key accounting red flags” outlined by Hindenburg in its scathing report into Adani was the group’s use of a small audit firm made up of several employees in their early twenties to audit the accounts of Adani Enterprises and Adani Total Gas, which were at one point worth a combined $100 billion in market value. 

The revelations have prompted one of Adani’s partners, France-based TotalEnergies, to say the Indian giant had asked a Big 4 accounting firm for a “general audit” of its accounts, as it scrambles to recover from a crisis that has wiped out more than $118 billion in the groups’ collective market value in the last fortnight.

Crowe UK and Adani Group didn’t immediately respond to Insider’s requests for comment. 

Read the original article on Business Insider