Begbies Traynor Group

Number of Lancashire firms in ‘significant’ financial distress now surges past 10,000

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Date Published: 22/01/2024
  • 12% year-on-year increase in the number of Lancashire firms on the brink.
  • 14% increase from the previous quarter alone.
  • Property and construction sectors see major leap in distress levels  

Fresh data released today by Begbies Traynor reveals the number of Lancashire firms who have started 2024 on the brink has now surged past 10,000.

In Q4 of 2023, the number of firms in Lancashire operating in ‘significant’ financial distress was 10,599 according to the research. This is a year-on-year increase of 12.09% (up from 9,456) and an alarming quarterly jump of 13.69 (up from 9,323).

This latest data is sourced from the Begbies Traynor Red Flag dataset which tracks key factors behind company distress and failure rates.

‘Significant distress’ refers to businesses showing deterioration in key financial ratios and indicators including those measuring working capital, contingent liabilities, retained profits and net worth.

The biggest double-digit percentage leaps in distress compared to the previous quarter were seen in Printing & Packaging (52%) Utilities (33%) and Industrial Transportation and Logistics (31%)

The largest volume of distressed businesses are found in the quartet of key economic sector hubs in the Lancashire region: Construction, Real Estate, Support Services and Professional Services which, together, make up almost half (49%) of the total (5,178) number of significantly distressed firms.

Chris Lawton, partner at Begbies Traynor in Preston, said:

“2024 has been a challenging start for SMEs in our region. There’s no doubt that the build-up of pressure from last year continues to have a major impact and this latest data demonstrates the size of the problem for businesses in Lancashire.

“Recent inflation figures announced compound the threats even further for business owners struggling to stay on top of things as those in their supply chain pass greater costs on in order to survive.

“The fact that more than half of these companies in significant distress operate in the traditionally strong sectors of construction, property, professional and support services is of grave concern for everyone doing business in these areas.

“With a General Election looming later this year, it is feasible we could see further support for businesses being announced in the next Budget. It remains to be seen whether this would be too little too late for many of the firms in our region included in our numbers.

“These new figures are a stark reminder for company directors in Lancashire to act quickly and decisively in order to generate more options for rescue than if they bury their heads in the sand.”

About The Author

Meet the Team

Chris is a licensed Insolvency Practitioner, having qualified in 2019.

Chris has worked in the insolvency sector since 2007, dealing with Creditors’ Voluntary Liquidations, Administrations, Company Voluntary Arrangements and Members’ Voluntary Liquidations in the main, working alongside company directors in order to find the appropriate insolvency process to deal with a company's financial position.

Chris joined Begbies Traynor in 2016, having previously worked for Duff & Phelps, Leonard Curtis and other firms in the industry.

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