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30 FIRMS GONE BUST EVERY WEEK IN 2010; Building is worst hit with 472 insolvencies.

Byline: MARIE KIERANS

THIRTY Irish companies went to the wall every week last year, figures revealed yesterday.

Statistics from insolvencyjournal.ie showed construction was the hardest hit with 472 firms - or 30% of the total - having failed. Next was the services sector which saw 279 being wound up.

Ken Fennell, who helped compile the data, said the 8% increase on the 2009 figure is "not as bad as some had predicted".

The analyst even predicted the number of insolvencies has peaked and will not grow in the coming 12 months.

But worryingly, the figures showed a sharp rise in receivers being appointed with 225 foreclosures last year. There were 124 in 2009 and just 57 in 2008.

Mr Fennell warned this will continue as the banks and Nama endeavour to recover what they can from failing firms.

He added the services sector accounted for more than 18% of the total number of insolvencies while the hospitality industry also suffered badly with 194 companies going to the wall. Mr Fennell believes this sector will continue to experience difficult trading conditions during 2011 and expects more casualties throughout the year.

He added there were 177 retail insolvencies but the real number could be much higher.

Mr Fennell said: "This figure only includes corporate insolvencies and does not take account of sole traders or partnership failures, as there are no official statistics."

Some high street names which collapsed last year include Hughes & Hughes, Pulse Accessories, Vera Moda and Four Star Pizza.

Mr Fennell added the harsh pre-Christmas weather, low consumer confidence and the rise in online trading could spell the end for many.

Leinster accounted for more than 65% of all insolvencies with Munster 21%, Connaught 9% and Ulster on 5%.

Interestingly, the end of 2010 saw the first Nama-appointed receivers and Mr Fennell believes this will be a common practice over the next number of years.

Court-appointed liquidations, which are primarily instigated by the Revenue Commissioners, showed a small decline from 106 in 2009 to 93 last year.

This may indicate a softening of Revenue attitude towards struggling companies.

Irish Mirror Comment: Page 10

CREDIT CRUNCH ONE
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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Jan 4, 2011
Words:355
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