North West administrations more than double in third quarter

Company administrations in the North West more than doubled in the third quarter of 2022, new figures have shown.

Business adviser, Interpath Advisory, said its latest analysis of notices in The Gazette showed a total of 56 companies based in the North West fell into administration from July to September 2022, up from 23 during the same period in 2021.

This mirrors the UK picture which saw a total of 265 companies fall into administration from July to September 2022 – up from 176 during the same period in 2021, and up from 243 in third quarter 2020. However, administrations are yet to hit the pre-pandemic levels of 401 in the third quarter of 2019.

August – traditionally the quietest month for insolvency appointments – saw the highest monthly number of administrations across the UK since March 2020, with 105 appointments.

The rising number of insolvencies can be seen across a wide range of sectors, with building and construction, industrial manufacturing, leisure and hospitality, retail, and the food and drink industry all witnessing increased activity.

Rick Harrison, managing director and head of Interpath’s team in the North West, said: “The summer months often herald a quieter period for corporate insolvencies, and so the fact that August witnessed the highest monthly total in more than two years is particularly telling.

“We know that companies across the North West have been wrestling with a myriad of issues for some time, from rampant inflation, to supply chain challenges, to labour shortages, so this is perhaps the first real evidence that a significant shift in activity is now under way.”

He added: “And let’s remember: the bulk of administrations seen in the past quarter landed well before the economic and political storm that we’ve witnessed in the past few weeks.

“The impact of rising interest rates, currency and gilt yield movements, and the increase in energy prices from 1 October are yet to feed through, but undoubtedly will only serve to compound the extraordinary pressure that local businesses were already under.”

He said: “We’re now in a situation where interest rates may well be above five per cent by spring of next year, putting increased pressure on cashflows for businesses with high debt levels, and especially those with an unhedged position.

“Further, with suppliers trying to navigate the impact of a weaker Sterling, and consumers adjusting to rising mortgages and lower disposable income, businesses are going to be squeezed in all directions.

“While the Government has intervened to provide certain relief in respect of rising energy costs and new loans for start-ups and small businesses, for many businesses, some difficult choices lie ahead.”

He concluded: “Speaking from our own experience at Interpath, we are certainly seeing a rise in activity across the region and, based on our current pipeline, we would suggest that by the end of Q4 this year insolvency levels will have risen even further.”

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