Almost 7,000 Mersey firms in ‘significant distress’, new data shows

Begbies Red Flag Alert data showed the figure for the three months to the end of June is 3% higher than a year ago with property and construction among the worst affected. Tony McDonough reports

Almost 1,000 construction firms in Merseyside are struggling, the data shows


Almost 7,000 Merseyside businesses are in ‘significant financial distress’ new figures from insolvency specialist Begbies Traynor reveal.

Begbies Red Flag Alert data for Q2 2019, which monitored the financial health of companies on Merseyside in the three months to the end of June, shows the figure of 6,788 is 3% higher than a year ago.

The average debt of companies has also doubled to £66,226 a year, from £29,872 in 2016. And there was a worrying increase in the number of businesses in ‘critical distress’ during the same period – often a precursor to formal insolvency – with a rise of 2% year-on-year.

Support Services has the largest volume of businesses in significant distress (1,073) in the region, an year-on-year increase of 8%. Construction followed (979), alongside property (787) which is an increase of 12% year-on-year.

This means that more than 1,500 firms in the property and construction sector on Merseyside are now in distress. Keith Tully, partner in the Liverpool office of Begbies Traynor, said: “These statistics reveal the scale of the challenge for SMEs in our region. The volume of firms in distress in key sectors on Merseyside like property and construction is alarming.

“Political uncertainty is one of the reasons why many companies have said they are suffering. Now we already have complete clarity on Boris Johnson becoming our new Prime Minister, we are all now looking for certainty on the Brexit position.

“We have to remember that while an average debt of £66,000 doesn’t seem much to large companies, this can be of significant detriment to the SMEs on Merseyside who are struggling.”

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