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Business insolvencies fall in 2012

Business failures in the UK fell slightly in 2012, while the number of company insolvencies recorded in December fell to the lowest rate since 2007

29 Jan 2013 Accountancy Age

By Richard Crump

THE NUMBER of business failures in the UK fell slightly in 2012, while the number of company insolvencies recorded in December fell to the lowest rate since December 2007.

According to Experian's business insolvency index, 0.86% fewer UK businesses failed than the previous year, with 1.04% of the business population failing, compared to 1.1% in 2011.

The insolvency rate remained broadly flat throughout the year – between 0.25% and 0.27% in each quarter – and improved slightly on 2011, when the range was between 0.26% and 0.29%.

The only significant year-on-year increases in the rate of insolvencies came from the largest firms – all those with more than 500 employees – which saw an increase from 1.46% in 2011 to 1.61% cent in 2012.

The greatest improvement in the rate of insolvencies was seen by firms with 51-100 employees. Their insolvency rate fell from 2.22% in 2011 to 1.83% in 2012.

"Firms that suffered most during the downturn were the ones to see the most significant improvements," said Max Firth, managing director, Experian business information services, UK&I.

The biggest improvements came from the North West, Wales and the West Midlands. Of the UK's five largest industries – business services, IT, property, construction and the leisure and hotel industry – the IT sector was the only one that saw signs of a difficult year, with insolvency rates up to 0.74% in 2012.

The new year has begun with a series of high-profile retail failures with HMV, Comet and Jessops all entering insolvency processes.

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