A MAJOR manufacturer and employer has temporarily suspended stock market trading in its shares.

Accrol Group Holdings plc, based on Roman Road, Blackburn said it had made the move yesterday morning because it was ‘currently experiencing more challenging trading conditions’.

The move, which is unlikely to affect job numbers, is to ensure it meets the strict conditions on financial transparency of the junior AIM Stock Market in London on which it floated in June last year.

It currently employs 540 people in Blackburn, Leyland, and Skelmersdale manufacturing and distributing toilet rolls, kitchen rolls and facial and other tissues largely aimed at the discount market.

A company statement issued to the AIM market said the decision followed a wide-ranging review of its operations by new chief executive Gareth Jenkins, appointed last month.

A City of London source said the move was unlikely to lead to any job cuts in Accrol’s operations with trading expected to resume in few days.

Miranda Barker, chief executive of East Lancashire Chamber of Commerce, said: “This is a sensible precaution in view of the strict stock market rules on ensuring that investors have a clear view of what is happening with a listed company.

“I hope this is a temporary measure and share trading and full profitability will resume shortly.”

The company statement blames the challenging trading conditions on the high and rising cost of the parent paper reels it converts into tissues and its inability to increase its prices in current market conditions to cover this.

It also says it is facing a higher fine from Health and Safety Executive for an incident where an employer severed the tip of his finger while at work.

The statement said as a result it expects a ‘significant impact’ on the financial year to April 30, 2018 but ‘less of an impact on the company’s trading performance’ in the following 12 months.

It added: “Based on current market conditions, the board now anticipates that earnings will be significantly below existing market forecasts for the current financial year, and as a consequence net debt will be correspondingly higher at year end.”

Accrol’s board is to review the firm’s dividend yo shareholders in respect of the current financial year.

It says Mr Jenkins review of Accrol’s operations was conducted ‘with a view to improving its margins and its overall financial performance’.