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Q4 2021: Company Insolvency Statistics

28 January 2022

Q4 2021: Company Insolvency Statistics

The company insolvency statistics for the fourth quarter of 2021 (October to December) have been released. Findings are uncovered here.

Company Insolvency in England and Wales (annual review)

2021 saw 14,048 company insolvencies registered in total – higher than in 2020 which saw 12,634 registered company insolvencies, but still below pre-pandemic levels. This can be explained by two conflicting trends; 2021 seeing the highest annual number of CVLs since 2009, whilst other insolvency type numbers being much lower compared to 2020 and pre-pandemic levels.

CVAs hit a new low in 2021, having the lowest amount of CVAs recorded since 1993; administrations hit the lowest since 2003 and compulsory liquidations hit the lowest since 1960 (when this series began).

Company Insolvency in England and Wales (quarterly review)

Q4 2021 saw 4,627 company insolvencies which is 18% higher than the amount registered in the previous quarter and 51% higher than that during the same quarter of 2020. This is also 1,000 more than that in Q3 2021. Company insolvencies reached the highest quarterly level since Q3 2012. The driving factor here was the rise in CVLs – the highest quarterly level since 2009. When assessing all other procedures, numbers were higher than that of the previous quarter but lower compared to that in the same quarter of the year before i.e. pre-pandemic.

Further breakdown as follows:

  • Creditors voluntary liquidations accounted for 90% of cases (up by 15% from 2021 Q3 and 68% from 2020 Q4)
  • Administrations accounted for 6% of cases (up by 62% from 2021 Q3 and down 21% from 2020 Q4)
  • Compulsory liquidations accounted for 3% of cases (34% higher than in 2021 Q3 and 1% lower than in 2020 Q4)
  • Company voluntary arrangements accounted for 1% of cases (65% higher than in 2021 Q3 and 59% lower compared to 2020 Q4)
  • There were no receivership appointments – this particular insolvency procedure appears very rare to date.

There were two new restructuring procedures created by the Corporate Insolvency and Governance Act 2020. Between June 26 2020 and 31 December 2021, 15 companies obtained a moratorium and 10 companies has a restructuring plan registered at Companies House.

Liquidation Rates per 10,000 active companies (annual review)

In 2021, the liquidation rate for companies was 32.9 per 10,000 active companies in England and Wales (1 in 304 companies liquidated in the 12 months ending Q4 2021). This rate is lower than that last year but similar to the 12 months ending Q3 2021.

Company Insolvencies by Industry (annual review)

From analysing SIC codes of companies and the insolvency statistics, it has been shown that the industries experiencing the highest amount of insolvencies in 2021 were:

  • Construction – 2,579 insolvencies
  • Wholesale and Retail Trade; Repair of vehicles – 1,722 insolvencies 
  • Accommodation and Food Services Activities – 1,673 insolvencies

Increases in insolvencies were seen in most industries when comparing from 2021 to 2020. The only large sector which saw a decrease in insolvencies was that of Manufacturing (down 13%). It can be noted that there were a few sectors that saw an increase of insolvencies over the overall annual increase of 11%; Professional, scientific and technical activities (35%) and Construction (25%). Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply sector insolvencies increased by 75%.

Company Insolvencies in Scotland

In Scotland, there were 263 company insolvencies recorded for Q4 2021. This was 80% higher than in the same period of 2020. Statistics included 48 compulsory liquidations, 203 CVLs and 11 administrations. There were no receiverships or CVAs.

The liquidation rate for Scotland in 2021 was 32.8 per 10,000 active companies. This was up by 5.7 compared to 2020.

Company Insolvencies in Northern Ireland

Northern Ireland saw 32 company insolvencies in Q4 2021which was 33% more than in Q4 2020. The statistics consist of 18 CVLs, 3 administrations, 10 compulsory liquidations and 1 CVA. There were no receiverships. 

The liquidation rate for Northern Ireland in 2021 was 14.1 per 10,000 active companies in Northern Ireland. This was a decrease of 6.1 from 2020.

The full report and findings can be seen here.

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