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Number of firms at risk rises 10pc

A NEW 'stress test' survey of Irish companies has uncovered that the number in danger of going out of business has shot up by 10pc since January.

According to the stress test survey of 35,000 companies -- by business information and risk agency Vision-net -- 16,800 of these are in the high-risk category. The survey also found that while 70pc of firms filed accounts during the quarter, 4,500 of those firms were late with their returns. And the survey uncovered that 350 meetings with creditors were initiated since the beginning of the year. Vision-net said that the businesses that went under within the quarter left behind €621m in unpaid debt.

"The results are worrying. Having started off the year on a stable footing we are now seeing slippage," said group MD 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."