846 Belgian companies go bankrupt in January 2023

Reading time 4 minutes | Written by Anne de Geus | 21 February 2023

Press releases

Construction and horeca fare the worst

Dilbeek, 21 February 2023 – In the first month of 2023, 846 companies went bankrupt in Belgium. This number is much higher than in January 2022, when about 712 companies went under. Expressed in percentage, this is about 19 percent less than last month. Such are the findings of the bankruptcy report of business data expert Altares Dun & Bradstreet following the analysis of its latest figures. However, the pre-covid level is still far from being reached. In January 2020, 1189 companies closed their doors for good.

Altares Dun & Bradstreet reviews bankruptcies in Belgium on a monthly basis, also highlighting the various provinces and sectors in the reports. As in most months, the construction sector is leading with a total of 182 bankruptcies. This sector was also the leader in 2022 with a total of 2195 bankruptcies over the entire year. The hotel and catering sector comes second for most bankruptcies since January 2023, followed by trade. Around 170 hotels/restaurants/cafés went bankrupt last month. With 150 bankruptcies in December 2022, this sector has experienced the fastest increase. The trade sector reported a figure of 168, down by 8 since the end of last year.

Since 2018, trade had recorded no fewer than 12,655 bankruptcies, putting this sector in the lead in terms of business closures. After the covid-19 pandemic, since 2021, the trend has shifted to the construction sector.

On a national level, the province of Antwerp had the highest entrepreneurial risk, with 118 companies going bankrupt. This amounts to a relative percentage of 0.05% of all registered companies. Sectors with a declining trend in bankruptcies are those of financial services and information and communication.

Joris Peeters, chief data scientist at Altares Dun & Bradstreet: “Our analysis shows that the number of bankruptcies is still not that bad: despite the increase in recent months, we are still below pre-covid levels. At the same time, the economy is not experiencing the growth that everyone expected after the covid-19 pandemic: we are now approaching zero growth, having just managed to avoid a recession. Historically, low economic growth or a recession is accompanied by a stronger increase in the number of bankruptcies, but we do not really see that happening for the time being. However, we now also need to take into account the unstable energy costs, inflation and high wages. For many organisations in the coming months, those factors could well be the last straw that breaks the camel's back. But that is also part of a healthy, dynamic economy.”

Download here the full bankruptcy report for January 2023.

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