India's Adani Ports says Q3 profit drops; to cut capex, repay debt next year

A general view of a container terminal is seen at Mundra Port, in Gujarat
A general view of a container terminal is seen at Mundra Port, one of the ports handled by India's Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd, in the western Indian state of Gujarat April 1, 2014. REUTERS/Amit Dave

BENGALURU, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Adani Ports and Special Economic Zone Ltd (APSE.NS), part of the embattled Adani Group, posted a lower quarterly profit on Tuesday as forex losses soared, and said it would pay back about 13% of its outstanding debt next fiscal and halve its capital expenses.

The company, India's largest private port operator, is one of several Adani group companies caught in the eye of a storm since Jan. 24 when U.S.-based short-seller Hindenburg Research raised concerns on the conglomerate's debt levels and use of tax havens.

Adani Ports said its consolidated net profit fell 16% to 13.16 billion rupees ($159.10 million) in the third quarter.

Revenue from operations rose 17.5% to 47.86 billion rupees due to improved realisations, offsetting a drop in cargo volumes in Mundra, India's largest private port, and the Dhamra Port.

However, profit was hit by foreign exchange losses ballooning to 3.15 billion rupees from 127.5 million rupees a year ago, due to mark-to-market losses.

Adani Ports said it expects earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA) of between 122 billion rupees and 126 billion rupees in the year ending March 2023.

It expects EBITDA to increase to 145 billion rupees to 150 billion rupees next financial year.

It also expects capital expenditure for the next financial year to drop to between 40 billion rupees and 45 billion rupees, from 86 billion rupees this financial year that ends in March.

Adani Ports said it expects to repay loans, including bonds, worth 50 billion rupees next financial year.

Its cash and cash equivalent were 62.57 billion rupees as of Dec. 31, while its net debt was 392.77 billion rupees.

Shares of Adani Ports were up 3.7% as of 1:39 p.m. IST. The company has lost nearly $5.1 billion in market value since the short-seller report. ($1 = 82.7175 Indian rupees)

Reporting by Nallur Sethuraman and Anisha Ajith in Bengaluru; Editing by Savio D'Souza

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