Corporate Insolvencies in the 1st half-year 2011

In Germany the number of corporate insolvencies continued to decline in the first half-year of 2011. For this investigation period the current survey of the credit agency Bürgel in Hamburg shows a drop of corporate insolvencies by 10.9 per cent as in comparison with the reference half-year 2010. Thus, only 15,302 companies were forced to give up in the first half-year 2011. “The economic situation in Germany also has a positive impact on the corporate insolvency statistics”, says the managing director of Bürgel – Dr. Norbert Sellin. As – according to leading economic institutes – the economic boom is going to continue – albeit in a more moderate form – Bürgel expects a decline of insolvencies to 30,000 cases in the total year 2011. This corresponds to the level before the financial crisis. “If the economic upward trend in the current year continues, only the year of 2007 would show less corporate insolvencies in comparison with 2011 relative to the last decade”, adds Sellin. Only flaw: In the second quarter 2011 an increase by 6.1 per cent of companies forced to file for insolvency in comparison with the first quarter of the year was noted: While in the first three months only 7,423 companies closed down, a total of 7,879 companies was noted in the subsequent quarter. The further development of the corporate insolvencies, however, could be highly influenced by the European debt crisis which threatens to dampen the national economic upswing.

In a federal state comparison the absolute figures showing 15.302 corporate insolvencies in the first half-year mainly refer to North Rhine-Westphalia (3,197), Bavaria (1,870) and Lower Saxony (1,701). In the more telling relative consideration based on 10,000 companies it is shown that in Bavaria (32 per 10,000 companies) and in Baden-Wuerttemberg (35) the fewest companies were forced to shut down. While the national average shows 48 insolvencies per 10,000 companies, Bremen with 91 cases per 10,000 companies displays the gravest situation. Also in Saxony-Anhalt (84) as well as in Saxony (73) the situation is strained.

Insolvency proceedings per Federal State

With one exception the number of corporate insolvencies in all federal states noted a downward trend in the first half-year: merely Bremen faced an increase by 5.7 per cent to 223 cases. The most significant drop by minus 18.5 per cent in contrast was observed in Baden-Wuerttemberg. But also in Bavaria and Saxony-Anhalt (by minus 17.2 per cent each) in particular as well as Berlin (minus 17.1) a drop by a two-digit value was noted.

Percentage change in corporate insolvencies

The lion’s share of corporate insolvencies in the investigation period goes to trade profes- sionals and sole proprietorships with 44.5 per cent, followed by private limited companies with a share of 35.8 per cent of all insolvencies. For all analyzed legal forms the insolvency figures have dropped in comparison with the first half-year 2010 – for limited partner-ships with a private limited corporate as a general partner (GmbH & Co. KG) actually by minus 23 per cent, and even for the trade professionals and sole proprietorships by minus 2.4 per cent.

A fourth of the companies (25.7 per cent) which had to file for insolvency in the first half-year 2011 were only active in the market for a period of up to two years. This youngest age group which statistically often suffers from a lack of equity capital, however, shows a minimal improvement by minus 1.5 per cent in comparison with the first half-year 2010. “Many of the insolvent companies were established two years ago during the heyday of the financial crisis. The consequences of the difficult starting time are now becoming apparent”, comments the managing director of Bürgel Sellin.

Meanwhile the share of such companies in the insolvency statistics which have been active in the market for a period of over 50 years merely amounts to 2.5 per cent. In addition, the corporate insolvencies in this group dropped by 19.7 per cent. Similar good declines by 19.8 per cent were noted by the group active in the market for over 20 years.

The causes for company collapses are manifold: firstly the absence of new orders or the cancelation or postponement of already made orders have an impact. Secondly domino effects cause insolvent companies to drag other companies to insolvency. Thirdly the still restrictive credit approvals by the banks threaten company existences – especially of small and young enterprises. Fourthly intra-company mistakes and lacking equity capital are responsible for an increased insolvency risk. Even in good economic phases no company is immune against intra-company mistakes and a resulting failure to pay.


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