NAB national australia bank sign
(Image: AAP/David Mariuz)

The biggest equity capital raising binge since the global financial crisis is showing no signs of abating. With the odds stacked against them, Australia’s retail shareholders are getting increasingly shafted, scaled back and diluted by boards and investment banks.

After raising $1 billion from institutional investors, Ramsay Health Care initially proposed limiting its follow on share purchase plan (SPP) for retail investors to just $200 million. But when $695 million came through the door from more than 41,000 applicants, it expanded this to $300 million, refunding $395 million.

Medical device company Cochlear trod a similar path, raising $880 million from institutions and then proposing a derisory $50 million cap on its SPP for retail investors which was then reluctantly lifted to $220 million after 16,651 shareholders applied for $417 million worth of stock.