'Stress test' shows half of companies are experiencing difficulties
HALF of Irish companies are showing signs they are in trouble, according to a new survey.
Some 48pc of companies surveyed showed signs of problems in the past three months -- up from 38pc in the last quarter of 2010, according to business information agency vision-net.ie, which carried out an unofficial 'stress test' of about 34,900 firms.
The report comes as five companies went out of business every day in the first quarter of the year. The number of creditors' meetings to wind up companies rose 10pc in the quarter.
Among the notable collapses last month were Total Fitness Holdings Ireland and Toni and Guy (Waterford) Ltd, bringing the number of Toni and Guy stores to be liquidated to five.
"The results are worrying. Having started off the year on a stable footing, we are seeing slippage," said Vision.net managing director Christine Cullen.
"Insolvencies, liquidations, closures and unpaid debt are all up on the previous quarter. Our numbers are also signalling that the second quarter will see a further rise in liquidations."
The rise in companies at risk of failure was "particularly notable", but it was too early to determine fully whether this was a spike or a sign that those who had been holding on were falling over the edge, she added.
Construction was again the hardest hit sector in the first quarter, with 66 companies going out of business. Legal, accounting, architecture companies were next, with 56 companies closing. The retail sector followed with 55, while manufacturing had 42 closures and the hospitality sector had 37.