Investigation centres on profit warning last September

Mitie has said it is being investigated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) over the timing and content of a profit warning.

The profit warning sent shares in Mitie tumbling by a quarter when it was released in September last year.

Mitie said at the time that Brexit uncertainty and other “economic pressures” would lead to lower profits. At the time, it said these factors combined would lead to “very significantly lower” operating profit than expected for the six months until the end of September 2016.

The firm, which was told last Friday about the probe, said the FCA “has commenced an investigation in connection with the timeliness” of the September profit warning.

The regulator is also looking into “the manner of preparation and content of the company’s financial information, position and results for the period ending 31 March 2016”, Mitie said.

The warning, one of three made by the firm last year, was issued when Ruby McGregor-Smith (pictured), now Baroness McGregor-Smith, was chief executive. She left a month later and was replaced by former Cable & Wireless boss Phil Bentley.

It is the second investigation into Mitie’s accounts in the space of a month. The UK’s accountancy watchdog, the Financial Reporting Council, opened a probe at the end of July into Deloitte’s auditing of Mitie’s accounts.

Earlier this year, the firm reported a £43m operating loss for the 12 months to the end of March 2017, down from a £108m profit the previous year.