On the Companies House database, which lists all registered firms in the UK, a search for “Adani” turns up 137 results. Several of these have nothing to do with Gautam Adani, the beleaguered Indian billionaire watching the market value of his conglomerate sink daily.
But 124 of these companies, all registered to a single address in the financial heart of London, are linked to the Adani empire. Some of these companies have been dissolved, but 56 of them are active subsidiaries of a parent company called Adani Energy Holdings. In every one of them, including the parent firm, the sole director is Sanjay Newatia.
Newatia, a former Credit Suisse banker based in London, runs SKN Advisors, a “bespoke consultancy” for companies and ultra wealthy individuals in the UK, India, and the Middle East. SKN last made the news in 2021, when 11.9 million documents leaked out of 14 offshore service providers in a cache called the Pandora Papers.
The Indian Express—one of the media outlets worldwide that examined the documents—linked Newatia to Niira Radia, a wealthy Indian lobbyist. At least a dozen offshore firms in the Pandora Papers were connected to Radia, the Indian Express said, adding that she “has been conducting her offshore transactions through London-based Sanjay Newatia.”
Newatia was appointed to all of his Adani directorships in September 2021, days before the news investigations into the Pandora Papers broke. In a brief email to Quartz, an SKN spokesperson confirmed the details of Newatia’s connections with the Adani subsidaries. Newatia did not comment on the Pandora Papers report of his work for Radia.
Adani’s footprint in the UK
Adani bought his UK holding company and its subsidiaries in May 2021 for $3.5 billion from Softbank and Bharti Enterprises, which had run the portfolio of firms as SB Energy.
From their names, it’s difficult to gauge anything about the activities of the Adani subsidaries in which Newatia is a director. Their nomenclature follows a near-invariable pattern: “Adani,” followed by a spelled-out number, and then sometimes followed by the letter “A.” That makes “Adani Five A Holdings Limited” just about as anonymous as “Adani Thirteen Limited.”
The filed accounts of these companies describe their principal activity as holding investments “in business relating to solar power development.” In its email, SKN Advisors said the underlying renewable energy assets are all located in India.
In 2022, Adani Energy Holdings, the parent firm, recorded assets of $628 million and losses of $8.5 million. That makes it a sizeable company—but its accounts aren’t vetted by a “global big 6" or a regionally prominent auditor, as it contended in a recent statement (pdf). On Feb. 5, the Financial Times reported that Adani Energy Holdings moved its audits in 2021 from Deloitte to a smaller firm called Crowe UK. Newatia told the FT that the Adani group “likes to promote smaller firms as a matter of practice for its non-listed entities.”
This story has been updated with comments from SKN Advisors.