Business failures fall 18 per cent during 2010

Financial strength of UK business community improves IN 2010

Nottingham, 24 January 2011 —  In 2010 the annual rate of business insolvencies [1] fell for the first time in two years as the financial health of UK businesses improved, according to the latest Insolvency Index from Experian®, the global information services company. 

1.04 per cent of UK businesses failed in 2010, compared to 1.25 per cent in 2009, the first annual drop for two years. The total number of insolvencies decreased from 24,209 in 2009 to 19,946 in 2010 - an 18 per cent drop.

March 2010 saw the greatest number of insolvencies for the year when 0.11 per cent of the total business population failed.  From March onwards, the failure rate saw a general improvement, hitting an annual low of 0.07 per cent in August and again in November. 

The UK’s business community finished 2010 stronger than it started the year. The average financial strength score [2] of UK businesses fell from 81.16 in January to reach its lowest point of 80.70 in May, but since recovered to reach a full year high of 81.35 in December.

Max Firth, MD of Experian PH, said: “2010 has been a period of relative stability for business insolvencies and the improving trend in the insolvency rate has been positive.  This contrasts significantly to the last major recession of the early 1990s when the rate escalated over a long period and peaked even as the country came out of recession. 

“Insolvency trends in 2010 included a North-South divide, with firms in the South of England faring better, as well as a reversal of fortunes for the largest companies. Taken as a whole, those with more than 500 employees were not as resilient as they were in 2009.  This demonstrates how quickly circumstances can change and how important it is for all firms to monitor the performance of other businesses they deal with to fully understand the impact they could have on them if they failed.”

Key highlights for 2010 included:

  • Yorkshire saw the highest rate of insolvencies throughout the year with an annual rate of 1.48 per cent.
  • Scotland maintained the lowest rate of insolvencies in 2010
  • Businesses in Greater London struggled most in terms of financial strength, with the lowest average score throughout the year of 79.85.
  • Yorkshire was the region to see the biggest improvement.  Businesses saw their average financial strength score rise from 79.46 in 2009 to 81.09 in 2010.
  • Businesses in South West maintained the highest average financial strength score of 2010 at 82.67.
  • Businesses in the plastics and rubber sector continued to have the highest annual insolvency rate in 2010 (2.33 per cent).
  • The financial strength of food retailers fared the worst in 2010 dropping from 78.03 in 2009 to 75.99, the lowest score of all the sectors.
  • The oil industry continued to have the strongest financial strength score at 85.88.

 

 Region

Insolvencies 2010

% change from 2009

% of business population failing 2010

% of business population failing 2009

Financial Strength

Score 2010

Financial Strength

Score 2009

Scotland

             983

18.9

0.85%

0.72%

          80.91

          80.81

North East

             579

-23.9

1.45%

1.92%

          81.18

          80.38

North West

          2,382

-20.0

1.27%

1.55%

          80.44

          79.92

Yorkshire

          1,735

-19.3

1.48%

1.71%

          81.09

          80.10

Wales

             571

-17.8

1.03%

1.25%

          80.62

          80.02

West Midlands

          1,890

-22.6

1.21%

1.54%

          80.03

          79.46

East Midlands

          1,216

-25.0

1.14%

1.51%

          81.39

          80.76

Eastern

          1,681

-20.1

0.96%

1.23%

          81.97

          81.61

South West

          1,376

-12.3

0.89%

1.02%

          82.67

          82.14

Greater London

          4,692

-17.5

0.96%

1.16%

          79.85

          79.13

South East

          2,841

-15.8

0.89%

0.97%

          82.24

          81.83

Grand Total

        19,946

-18

1.04%

1.24%

          81.03

          80.46

Source: pH, an Experian company

 

Number of employees

Insolvencies 2010

% change from 2009

% of business population failing 2010

% of business population failing 2009

Financial Strength

Score 2010

Financial Strength

Score 2009

1-2

          2,783

-6.4

0.63%

0.74%

          82.25

          81.32

3-5

          3,189

-18.8

1.44%

1.71%

          81.88

          82.19

6-10

          2,873

-20.7

2.19%

2.76%

          81.40

          81.42

11-25

          2,711

-23.2

2.64%

3.40%

          81.06

          81.23

26-50

          1,246

-16.3

2.59%

3.07%

          80.89

          80.88

51-100

             630

-18.4

2.31%

2.83%

          80.61

          80.35

101-500

             481

-20.9

1.81%

2.28%

          81.76

          81.47

501+

             147

-3.9

1.57%

1.63%

          84.42

          84.57

Unspecified

          5,886

-17.5

0.65%

0.73%

          80.20

          79.58

Grand Total

        19,946

-18

1.04%

1.24%

          81.03

          80.55

Source: pH, an Experian company

 

Sector

Insolvencies 2010

% change from 2009

% of business population failing 2010

% of business population failing 2009

Financial Strength

Score 2010

Financial Strength

Score 2009

Extractive Industries

16

-20.0

1.10%

1.32%

          82.59

          82.40

Oil

19

-47.2

0.67%

1.09%

          85.88

          85.40

Building and Construction

          3,267

-14.2

1.99%

2.35%

          77.64

          77.80

Building Materials

              79

-8.1

2.10%

2.28%

          79.66

          79.98

Chemicals Industry

              51

-17.7

1.86%

2.13%

          81.57

          81.65

Diversified Industrials

             474

-21.3

2.21%

2.66%

          77.95

          78.41

Electricals

             147

-16.5

1.66%

1.98%

          79.24

          79.64

Engineering

             754

-18.2

1.90%

2.40%

          79.32

          79.71

Printing, Paper and Packaging

              52

-24.6

1.71%

2.69%

          78.40

          78.94

Textiles and Clothing

             270

-33.3

1.88%

2.86%

          76.56

          76.99

Breweries

                7

-30.0

1.50%

2.08%

          79.64

          80.31

Spirits, Wine and Tobacco

                4

-20.0

0.82%

0.98%

          82.40

          81.78

Food Manufacturing

             104

-8.0

1.68%

2.25%

          77.85

          78.35

Pharmaceuticals

              19

72.7

1.56%

1.22%

          81.61

          82.08

Wholesaling

             945

-24.5

1.51%

1.88%

          79.74

          79.98

Leisure and Hotels

          1,428

-11.6

1.68%

1.93%

          79.18

          77.79

Media

             719

-9.4

1.13%

1.22%

          80.65

          80.36

Food Retailing

             183

10.2

1.20%

1.19%

          75.99

          78.03

Non-Food Retailing

          1,112

-26.8

1.32%

1.78%

          78.85

          79.03

Servicing/Repair

              98

-23.4

1.22%

1.45%

          82.22

          81.34

Transport

             710

-19.0

1.36%

1.58%

          78.40

          77.21

Utilities

              17

-5.6

0.80%

0.96%

          79.82

          80.39

Postal and Telecommunications

             127

-24.4

1.51%

1.87%

          76.25

          75.80

Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing

              97

-26.0

0.46%

0.61%

          85.13

          84.66

Banking and Financial Services

             774

-4.0

1.48%

1.61%

          84.16

          84.73

Health and Household

                4

-69.2

0.47%

1.49%

          79.21

          79.82

Business Services

          4,470

-15.4

0.84%

0.94%

          81.45

          80.66

Hiring and Leasing

             247

-12.7

1.82%

2.11%

          81.42

          80.19

Property

          1,176

-32.3

0.77%

0.98%

          82.70

          84.29

Other Services

             999

-8.3

0.48%

0.62%

          85.79

          84.79

Plastics & Rubber

             151

-18.8

2.33%

3.20%

          77.99

          78.62

Insurance

             113

-12.4

0.98%

1.08%

          84.28

          85.14

IT

             710

-11.4

0.66%

0.74%

          83.49

          82.10

Motor Traders

             403

-26.2

1.14%

1.55%

          79.99

          79.54

Unspecified

             200

-41.2

0.16%

0.25%

          74.84

          70.78

Grand total

        19,946

-18

1.04%

1.24%

          81.03

          80.46

Source: pH, an Experian company

ENDS

Contact:

Natalie Hale 

0115 992 2645/07971 709274

natalie.hale@uk.experian.com

Notes to editors

About Experian
Experian is the leading global information services company, providing data and analytical tools to clients in more than 90 countries. The company helps businesses to manage credit risk, prevent fraud, target marketing offers and automate decision making. Experian also helps individuals to check their credit report and credit score, and protect against identity theft.

Experian plc is listed on the London Stock Exchange (EXPN) and is a constituent of the FTSE 100 index. Total revenue for the year ended 31 March 2010 was $3.9 billion. Experian employs approximately 15,000 people in 40 countries and has its corporate headquarters in Dublin, Ireland, with operational headquarters in Nottingham, UK; Costa Mesa, California; and São Paulo, Brazil. 

For more information, visit
http://www.experianplc.com.

[1] The insolvency rate is calculated by comparing the number of businesses that failed with the total business population in Great Britain.

[2] The financial strength score predicts the likelihood of a business failing in the next 12 months, with 100 being the least likely to default and 1 being the most likely.

 

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