France's TotalEnergies, one of the largest foreign investors in billionare Gautam Adani's business empire, said it has put on hold participation in Indian conglomerate's $50 billion hydrogen project pending results of an audit launched following allegations by a US short-seller.
While the partnership with Adani group was announced in June last year, TotalEnergies has not yet signed a contract, the French group's chief executive Patrick Pouyanne said at earnings call.
As per the June 2022 announcement, TotalEnergies was to take 25 per cent equity in Adani New Industries Ltd (ANIL) - the Adani Group firm that is investing $50 billion over 10 years in green hydrogen ecosystem that includes an initial production capacity of 1 million tonnes before 2030.
"Obviously, the hydrogen project will be put on hold until we have clarity," Pouyanne said.
TotalEnergies, which has an exposure of $3.1 billion in Adani group, will wait for the result of an audit launched by the conglomerate in response to allegations of accounting and financial fraud levelled by Hindenburg Research.
Adani group has vehemently denied the allegations, calling them malicious and an "attack on India".
"It was announced, nothing was signed. It doesn't exist," Pouyanne said, referring to the hydrogen venture. "Mr Adani has other things to deal with now, it's just good sense to pause things while the audit goes forward."