Australia equity raising hits record $48 bln

SYDNEY: Companies raised a record $48 billion in new equity from Australia's capital markets last fiscal year as the global economic crisis forced them to offset asset writedowns and reduce debt, business advisory firm KPMG said Monday.

More than half of the 60 billion Australian dollars ($48 billion) raised in the year ended June 30 was from private placements - shares offered to select institutional investors - while money raised from new listings on the stock exchange plummeted, reflecting higher risk aversion amid the crisis.

"In one of the more turbulent trading periods of recent decades, Australian capital markets proved to be resilient," KPMG national head of mergers and acquisitions Rob Bazzani said in a report.

Some AU$36.5 billion was raised from private placements, blowing away the previous fiscal year's record AU$20 billion. Rights issues - new shares offered only to existing shareholders - raised AU$25.5 billion, more than double AU$12 billion the previous year, which had also been a record.

Initial public offerings by new companies raised less than AU$300 million in the last fiscal year compared with AU$6 billion in the previous year.