Shares in the crisis-hit owner of national firm Simpson Millar were suspended today after its lenders backed away from propping up the business.

Fairpoint plc announced to the London Stock Exchange it had been notified by its bank, AIB Group, that it is unwilling to provide the level of ongoing support requested by the company.

As a result, Fairpoint is unable to sign off the audit of its annual report and accounts for the year ending 31 December 2016, and share dealings in the company were suspended as of this morning.

The company said it will not be in a position to publish its annual report and accounts by 30 June, as required by stock market rules. Shares remain suspended until those results are published.

Fairpoint said it is in discussions with alternative providers of finance who may wish to offer support to the company’s businesses, and a further announcement will be made in due course.

The group has endured a difficult year in which shares went from trading at more than 100p last summer to just a tenth of that this month.

The company notified the stock exchange in December that its full year results for 2016 were likely to be ‘materially below expectations’.

In March, newly appointed chief executive David Broadbent said 2017 was likely to be a ‘year of transition’, after reporting significant falls in adjusted profits and a large increase in net debt.

In January the group consulted with staff on a restructuring of the business, with some reports saying that 300 jobs were under threat.

Prior to the past year’s struggles, the alternative business structure had grown quickly, snapping up national firm Simpson Millar and going on to acquire personal injury specialist Colemans-CTTS and Bristol-based Foster & Partners. The legal business is believed to have a headcount of more than 500.