SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) - China’s securities regulator loosened refinancing rules for listed firms on Friday, which it said would help companies fight the coronavirus epidemic and resume production.

The China Securities Regulatory Commission (CSRC) said the revised rules would make it easier for listed firms to raise additional funding. CSRC also encouraged listed companies to introduce strategic shareholders.

The rule changes would “enable capital markets to better serve the real economy, and help listed companies combat the epidemic”, CSRC said in a statement on its website.

China has been rolling out a raft of easing measures to aid an economy hit by the coronavirus that has killed nearly 1,400 people and sickened over 60,000.

According to the revised rules, profitability requirements will be scrapped for private placements on Shenzhen’s start-up board ChiNext. In additional, ChiNext-listed companies seeking public share sales no longer need to meet certain criteria around leverage ratios.

Meanwhile, companies are given more flexibility in pricing shares in private placements, while lock-up periods for privately-issued shares are halved.

Reporting by Liu Luoyan, Kevin Yao and Samuel Shen; Editing by Hugh Lawson and Alex Richardson