Number of Irish firms going bust fell by 20pc in first quarter
THE number of Irish companies going out of business fell by 20pc in the first three months of this year.
There were 347 business failures in the first three months of the year, compared to 433 over the same period in 2012, according to the latest research.
The services sector saw the most significant reduction, while construction company insolvencies also fell, indicating that some level of stability may be returning to that industry.
However, the retail and hospitality sectors are still seeing high levels of business failure.
The number of retailers going out of business increased by nearly two-fifths over the period, according to the Insolvency Journal, which is linked to accountancy firm Kavanagh Fennell.
It was the worst trading performance for the retail industry since the financial crisis began five years ago, according to the bankruptcy data specialist.
Leinster was the worst hit province with 40pc of all insolvencies during the period.
According to company statistics provider Vision-net, five companies a day were declared insolvent in March alone. However, the 120 insolvencies recorded was still 9pc less than in March of last year.
Vision-net says 62 of these were liquidated, 54 entered receivership, and an examiner was appointed to four companies. Dublin, Cork and Kerry recorded almost two-thirds of all business failures.
The tally includes seven examinerships so far this year. High-profile instances include retail companies Pamela Scott, Monsoon Accessorize and B&Q as well as 'The Sunday Business Post', all of which remain under court protection.
Another sign of economic stress is evident court orders relating to unpaid debt. More than €81m has been awarded by the courts to creditors over unpaid debts since the start of the year.
On a brighter note, 10,000 new start-ups were recorded in the first quarter, broadly in line with the same period last year.
"People are still willing to self-start businesses, and these rates of entrepreneurship are encouraging, even if some of them are driven by necessity in a sapped jobs market," says Vision-net's managing director, Christine Cullen.
"The latest sentiment survey from employers' group IBEC, showing that business confidence is at its highest since 2009, is heartening, too.
"Robust business planning, based on sound marketplace intelligence, can help to shed light on a scarred economic landscape and enable better decision-making," said Ms Cullen.