Corporate insolvencies down despite late surge in 2015

The number of failing businesses reduced in Scotland last year, insolvency figures show.

Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland

KPMG revealed the number of corporate insolvencies in 2015 stood at 902, a 4 per cent decrease on 2014, when there were 943 insolvencies.

However, the final three months of 2015 saw a 30 per cent increase in insolvency appointments compared to the same period in 2014 – 210 up to 275.

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Administrations, which typically affect larger organisations, increased by 52 per cent – from 67 in 2014 to 102 last year.

Figures from October to December 2015 show that the number of administrations doubled compared to the same period in 2014, from 18 to 36. Liquidations, which tend to affect smaller businesses, fell by 9 per cent in 2015, down to 800.

KPMG said the falling oil price will not necessarily lead to more insolvencies this year but will create “opportunities for businesses to improve efficiency and consolidate”.

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Number of Scottish company insolvencies falls

Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: “2015 saw a 4 per cent decrease in the number of corporate insolvencies which, in general, is a positive sign for businesses and the Scottish economy.

“That being said, whilst there has been a continuing downward trend in corporate insolvencies since 2011, numbers have now levelled out, and at a higher point than pre-recession levels.

“Furthermore, an increase in administrations and liquidation appointments in the last quarter of 2015, suggests we are not quite out of the woods yet. This correlates with other, recently announced, economic indicators often showing a more negative sentiment in Scotland than other parts of the UK.

“It is difficult to see any sectoral pattern other than oil and gas which is no surprise. Even then, the work we’re doing in the industry is not in the context of actual or prospective insolvencies, but rather assisting them in areas such as raising new finance, establishing a professional and disciplined approach to cash management and cost reduction, stakeholder management and contingency planning or disposal of peripheral assets or businesses.

“As in the past, we do not see the current oil price manifesting itself in significant insolvencies, but rather there will be opportunities for businesses to improve efficiency and consolidate.

“Only those who don’t thoroughly revisit and challenge their operational and strategic business plans and take early corrective action will find themselves in difficulty.”