AN investigation has been launched by a financial watchdog into Blackburn-based tissue paper giants Accrol Group.

But bosses at the Roman Road based manufacturer have still remained bullish about the prospects of the company returning to profitability by the end of the financial year.

The Financial Conduct Authority has issued a regulatory notice concerning Accrol, relating to a six-month period in 2017.

In November that year, the Lancashire Telegraph reported 89 job losses, after several years of rapid growth, including the opening of a new site in Leyland and a distribution centre in Skelmersdale.

Before their half-yearly results were unveiled, a statement was issued by the company read: "The Financial Conduct Authority has notified Accrol that it has commenced an investigation into the company relating to certain statements that it made to the market between 1 April 2017 and 20 November 2017."

No further details have been released regarding the probe, which covers a time when the firm lost chief executive Steve Crossley and had its shares suspended by the AIM market.

Shortly afterwards the company was also fined £120,000 by Manchester magistrates for an 'avoidable accident' where a worker lost part of a finger, in a 2016 incident.

The announcement was followed though by claims that Accrol, which employs more than 450 people and has undergone a major restructuring exercise this year, may have turned a corner and return a £1million profit by April.

This has come despite price increases of 29 per cent in the average price of tissues in the sector.

Dan Wright, Accrol chairman, said: "The business has changed beyond recognition since February 2018 and will exit the current financial year in a much stronger position operationally than it has ever been in before."