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CNN Business

Indian billionaire Gautam Adani’s business empire is planning to raise nearly $2.5 billion in a new share offering as it pushes to expand into new areas.

Adani Enterprises, the flagship company of the Adani Group, said in a stock exchange filing on Friday that its board had given approval to raise 200 billion rupees ($2.45 billion) by issuing new shares. It would be India’s biggest ever follow-on public share offering, Reuters reports.

Adani, Asia’s richest man, has rapidly expanded his portfolio of companies since the start of the pandemic, acquiring businesses in fields ranging from cement-making to airports.

“Adani needs capital at the holding company level. It is the flagship company. They need money for a lot of the new initiatives they are seeding, acquisitions and for new projects,” Reuters cited a source familiar with the capital raising as saying.

Adani, a college dropout, briefly became the world’s second richest man in September, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, overtaking Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. His fortune has grown by $51 billion so far this year, according to the index.

Shares of Adani’s seven listed companies — in sectors ranging from ports to power stations — shot up between 10% and 260% in the first 10 months of the year.

But the conglomerate’s huge growth has been fueled by a $30 billion borrowing binge, making it one of the most indebted businesses in the country, raising concerns among analysts.

Shareholders will be asked to approve the new share issue via postal ballot, Adani Enterprises said in Friday’s filing.

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