The troubled housing maintenance group is to investigate share sales made before last month’s profits warning

Social housing maintenance group Connaught plunged deeper into the gloom yesterday as it emerged an executive may have breached regulations by selling shares ahead of a company profit warning.

Connaught, which lost 80% of its value in the last week of June and suffered the resignations of its chief executive and finance director, has launched an internal investigation into share dealings by Peter Jones, chief executive of the firm’s partnership division.

Jones made £264,953 selling shares on 21 May and 23 June. The second sale came just two days before Connaught’s profits warning that saw shares nosedive by 217.2p to 103p over three days.

Jones is registered with the Financial Services Authority (FSA) as a “person discharging managerial responsibility” and, as such, must seek permission before dealing in company shares. Any person with inside information selling shares before a profits warning is in breach of FSA regulations.

Jones remains an employee at Connaught pending the results of the company’s internal probe.

A Connaught statement said: “Connaught is conducting an internal inquiry into the timing of these transactions and will make a further announcement as appropriate.”

The news comes as Connaught warned that it would suffer from recent public sector austerity drives. According to the group, deferred local authority contracts could take £13m of this year’s profits, and £16m from next year’s.