After 35 years of stockbroking for some of the biggest houses and investors in Australia and the UK, the Secret Broker is regaling Stockhead readers with his colourful war stories — from the trading floor to the dealer’s desk.

We all know about the mortgage pain barrier that’s being talked about in all the news headlines – but what about the Man of Steel, Sanjeev Gupta’s pain?

His company GFG is looking to raise some capital so it can pay out one of his other bonds as it comes round the corner and into maturity.

His latest effort is to try and raise U$350m but the squeeze is on.

The interest rate, which he has been told he will need to pay to get the issue away, is ‘up to 15%’.

So, it’s all about the quality and the thing about offering bonds to the market is the amount of information that you have to disclose.

If you are listed and just do a placement, the amount of paperwork that is required by the financial police is not that much.

However, when you are raising money via a bond issue, there is normally an asset put up, as it is deemed to be a loan.

Sanjeev could have put up his £42m ($80m) house in one of central London’s priciest districts Belgravia, or his Point Piper pad ‘Bomera’ which he paid $34m for in 2019. But, as in all these geared up plays, personal assets are ring-fenced.

Wealthy (successfully) married men know better than to ask their wives to sign any paperwork that requires entertainment palaces to be hocked up. It’s best left be.

The bond that is maturing and needs repaying is not due till early next year but Sanjeev understands that with Christmas around the corner, timing can get really tight.

Especially if you appear to be on your hands and knees with the begging bowl out, trying not to look desperate.

According to the Financial Times, having already sounded out potential funding parties in October, a few goal posts had to be moved to satisfy an initial lacklustre response.

When you are in this sort of position, it is natural to approach the original bond holders, so it really becomes just a swap for them and a bit of a round robin for the funds involved.

If you have US$10m tied up, you can now swap it for a 15% coupon, when mortgage rates are, say, 6.8%.

I can’t see Sanjeev at the Point Piper foodbank, though there is a lot at stake due to his gearing. To find out how much is owed by his global empire I turned to my AI bot, a) because I’m being lazy and b) to see if my bot knows his name.

Here goes:

‘As of my last knowledge update in January 2022, I don’t have the specific and up-to-date information on Sanjeev Gupta’s net worth. Sanjeev Gupta is an industrialist associated with the GFG Alliance, a global conglomerate with interests in various sectors, including steel, aluminum, and renewable energy.

Net worth can change over time due to various factors such as business success, investments, and market conditions. To obtain the latest and most accurate information on Sanjeev Gupta’s net worth, I recommend checking reputable financial news sources, Forbes, or other reliable publications that track the wealth of individuals. Keep in mind that net worth figures are often estimates and may not represent the exact financial position of an individual or entity.’

Looks like I’m now going to have to do some actual work. What a bummer.

According to certain articles:

GFG’s auditor KPMG in October stated “material uncertainty” and “significant doubt” over its ability to remain as a “going concern”.

Part of this uncertainty comes from the fact that GFG offered shares in InfraBuild (his jewel in his crown) as security to Greensill in the weeks before the finance firm collapsed.

However, InfraBuild said that this “security is disputed and has no legal basis”.

So you can see that there is a bit of a mountain to climb, for both him and me.

I found an article from 2015 that stated ‘The estimated net worth of Sanjeev Gupta is at least $656 dollars.’ As of 2023-11-15 though, I’m thinking that this may be Sanjeeve who owns our magnificent local curry house.

Though the way this is going, our Sanjeeve may actually be richer than the steel mogul. He employs over 34,000 staff worldwide, whilst Senjeeve employs six.

Now I’m on to another site that says he is worth U$4.72m in 2021, so he’s on the climb!

Getting a bit frustrated here, so I’m going to try Rupert’s Lachlan’s Sunday Times rich list.

Gah – they have a paywall and they pay me. I don’t pay them, so I stumbled there.

I did find a site that has Gupta’s name mentioned with seven others on India’s death list but for all I know it could be anyone (including our waiter).

There are lots of headlines that mention billionaire and then his name… but nothing on his net wealth.

However I do find out that his holding company GFG stands for Gupta Family Group. And according to my next search GFG owes Greensill Capital US$5bn.

If you recall, Greensill is the sweet potato farmer from Bunderberg who flew a bit close to the financial sun and collapsed in a heap, having at one point being a special advisor to the then British Prime Minister (they even shared an office and the odd Bundy and coke).

Credit Suisse is now chasing Sanjeev for this debt but all is OK according to Sanjeev because Lex Greensill assured him that the loan documents he signed were ‘irrelevant’.

So there you go, a sweet potato farmer told him not to worry about the paperwork on U$5bn worth of loans, so if I do actually find a figure on his wealth, I’ll have to decide if it’s minus U$5bn or not.

So far, I’ve found a net wealth of US$656 climbing to US$4.72m but not a calculator which can handle the amount of noughts needing to be added or subtracted.

Everyone tells me about the dangers of using AI and how it will bring the human race to the end but so far I can report no one has anything to worry about. Even Sanjeev, though his bond holders seem to have more worries than him.

As his bonds are backed by assets, 15% is seen as a bit of a discount to a bond that is not asset backed, according to those in the know.

As Alan Bond once told me, ‘Son if you owe the bank a million dollars, it’s your problem but if you owe them 100 million dollars, it becomes their problem’. (I later found out he stole that one from John Paul Getty, but I was still impressed.)

At least I could find out Alan Bond’s minus net worth when he went bankrupt, using AI.

It came in at $1.8bn, in 1992, which given inflation etc, probably matches Sanjeev’s U$5bn.

At least we and the curry house are safe for now. It’s name is The Ring of Fire!

May have to tell Sanjeev to get on the ladder with a paint brush and change the ‘of’ to ‘on’ to bring it up to date, as we head for 2024.

After all, Alan Bond started out as a sign writer and it can now become our homage to them both!


The Secret Broker can be found on Twitter here @SecretBrokerAU or on email at [email protected].

Feel free to contact him with your best stock tips and ideas.