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Hong Kong to ease reporting rules for companies' results due to virus

HONG KONG, Feb 4 (Reuters) - Hong Kong's markets regulator and stock exchange will relax rules on how companies must publish their annual results in response to challenges caused by the newly identified coronavirus, they said in a joint statement on Tuesday.

Travel bans and other restrictions imposed across China in a bid to limit the spread of the virus have left auditors and companies' own finance teams scrambling to finalize reports ahead of exchange deadlines.

In normal circumstances Hong Kong-listed companies must publish preliminary results which have been agreed with their auditor by March 31, or have their shares suspended from trading.

However, the Securities and Futures Commission (SFC) and the Stock Exchange of Hong Kong said that because of problems caused by the virus, a company' shares could likely still be traded if they published preliminary results that had not been agreed with their auditor but were otherwise compliant ahead of the deadline.

(Reporting by Alun John, editing by Louise Heavens)

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