India: Billionaire Anil Ambani’s Wealth Eroded on ‘Panic’ Stock Sell-Off, Wiping Out $2.6 Billion In One Day

Feb. 10 (Bloomberg) — Billionaire Anil Ambani blamed “vicious and illegal” trading for a one-day stock rout that wiped out $2.6 billion in the market value of his six publicly traded companies.

The plunge, led by a 19 percent drop in Reliance Infrastructure Ltd., dragged India’s benchmark Sensitive Index to a seven-month low yesterday. The group said “unscrupulous corporate rivals” spread rumors that led to “panicked” sales, according to an e-mailed statement.

It’s a familiar refrain for investors. Three weeks ago, Ambani criticized media reports based on unidentified sources and rumors in a press conference where he said he had agreed not to trade in shares for a year after an investigation by the stock market regulator. Since then, the combined value of his listed companies has plunged by 27 percent to $17.2 billion, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

“Every time there’s a development there will be a media reporting and media scrutiny, which we welcome,” Ambani, 51, told reporters in Mumbai on Jan 16. “But most of it is based on rumors and sources and nothing is based on facts.”

Four phone calls made to Ambani’s office in Mumbai yesterday were unanswered and an e-mail elicited no response.

India’s stock market is the world’s worst performer after Egypt this year as a combination of corruption scandals, rising inflation and Asia’s most aggressive round of interest-rate increases have dimmed investor appetite for Asia’s third-biggest economy. Ambani’s telecom and infrastructure companies have fallen the most among benchmark stocks this year.

Stock Sell-Off

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