Corporate Insolvencies 2010

In 2010 32,280 companies in Germany announced their insolvency. According to the latest survey by the financial information agency Bürgel this means 4.4 percent or 1,482 corporate insolvencies less than during the previous year. “The current positive development is mainly due to the improved domestic economic activity, the rise in export rates and the recovery of the credit market“ the Managing Director of Bürgel, Dr. Norbert Sellin, explained. Whereas the financial crisis will still play a significant role in the weak first quarter, the latest economic forecasts, for example those of the German Institute for economic research (German DIW Berlin), predict financial growth for the current year. “This will become apparent in a further decline in the number of corporate insolvencies,“ Sellin outlined.

Whereas in the absolute figures of the individual federal states, just under 20 percent (6,548) of all national corporate bankruptcies were incurred in North Rhine-Westphalia alone, Hamburg with 55 insolvencies per 10,000 companies shows the lowest relative value, followed by Bavaria (72 per 10,000 companies) and Baden-Wuerttemberg (75 per 10,000). On the other hand, Bremen presents the highest value with 142 insolvencies per 10,000 companies.

Insolvency proceedings per federal state

Also in Saxony-Anhalt (132) and Schleswig-Holstein (120) the figures continue to occupy the highest places on the list. The federal average lies at 90 bankruptcies per 10,000 companies.

In the percentage changes in comparison with 2009, the figures fell in 14 of 16 federal states, in particular in the Saarland with 14.1 percent less corporate bankruptcies. Also Thuringia (minus 10 percent) and North Rhine-Westphalia (minus 8.8 percent) have come out well. On the other hand, Berlin has recorded a strong increase by 8 percent. In Rhineland-Palatinate the number of corporate insolvencies in 2010 has increased by 2.2 percent.

Percentage change in corporate insolvencies

Worst hit among the corporate insolvencies last year were 13,266 commercial enterprises and sole proprietorships with a share of 41.1 percent in the corporate insolvency community. Badly affected are also 11,263 limited liability companies with a share of 34.9 percent and a rise by 8.6 percent in comparison with the previous year.

Also companies that have existed on the market for up to two years are filing more and more frequently for bankruptcy than older companies: In comparison with the previous year the statistics for 2010 have risen in the category of these young companies by 7.2 percent whereas the figures for all other age groups are on the decline. According to Bürgel, the reasons are more restrictive bank lending, lower resources and a lack of experience on the part of newcomers to the market. Correspondingly, 18.6 percent of the insolvent companies have not been present on the market for more than two years. Currently, companies that have been operating for more than 50 years have the best chances of survival and with 3.2 percent hold the lowest share of the insolvency statistics.

Reasons that can still lead to the opening of bankruptcy proceedings are firstly a lack of new orders or the cancellation or postponement of orders already received. Secondly, domino effects ensure that insolvent companies drag other companies with them into insolvency. Thirdly, restrictive bank lending is still a threat to corporate subsistence – especially in the case of small and young companies. Fourthly, company-internal mistakes and the lack of equity are responsible for an increased insolvency risk.

For 2011 Bürgel forecasts a continuation of the positive trend and expects 30,000 to 31,000 corporate bankruptcies in Germany. One instability factor remains: the insolvency of individual european states could affect the positive development of the economy.


CRIF Bürgel GmbH
– Branch Head Office –
Leopoldstraße 244
Fax:  +49 40 89803-777/778