(Image: AAP/Paul Miller)

Hearing implant maker Cochlear has become the first major Australian company to look for shareholders for help in the current coronavirus crisis, looking for around $1.2 billion in new cash, a lender and dropping all dividends.

Cochlear is one of the bluest of blue chips of the Australian tech sector and a household name for its hearing implants. But its business has been crippled by the impact of coronavirus on its Chinese operations, and now sales elsewhere are under pressure from government lockdowns across the globe, notably in Europe, parts of the US and across Australia and New Zealand.

Lockdowns mean surgeries are being cancelled across the globe, so sales of its devices have stalled and are now falling.