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Coface: business failures rise above year-ago levels in Q1-Q3, led by construction


Corporate bankruptcy statistics moved into an upward trend in the third quarter of 2011, after remaining lower or roughly at year-ago levels in the first half, according to preliminary data from Coface, the global provider of credit solutions. The number of companies declared bankrupt by the courts in the January-September period totalled 521, up by 4.2% compared with the same period a year earlier (and by 2% y-o-y if final data for Q1-Q3 2010 are used as the base for comparison). The figure is 64% higher than in January-September 2008, i.e. just before the global crisis struck.

There are significant differences between sectors, however. In the construction industry the number of bankruptcies jumped by 47% in the nine months to September and reached 107, representing 21% of the total. The sector’s share has now doubled from a little over 10% just two years ago. In the trade sector business failures were up by 13% y-o-y in Q1-Q3, to 127, driven by a 65% y-o-y jump in bankruptcies among retailers. By contrast, in the manufacturing sector the figure was down by 19% y-o-y, to 156, with an improvement or stabilisation reported in most sub-sectors, one exception being rubber and plastic products (manufacturers accounted for 31% of all bankrupt firms in January-September, down 10 points compared with 2009). And in transport business failures slumped by 24% y-o-y to 25.

In terms of legal structure, bankruptcy statistics were comparable to year-ago levels in most categories of firms, with the single and notable exception of "entrepreneurs", a legal form popular among small and medium enterprises, where they jumped by 42% y-o-y to 95, representing 18% of the total.

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