The number of businesses forced to start insolvency proceedings in the European Union (EU) soared in the third quarter of this year. According to data published by Eurostat, bankruptcy declarations increased by 16.3% between July and September compared to the second quarter. This scenario, however, did not take place in Portugal, which saw a 2.9% decline in insolvency proceedings, while recording the third-largest increase in the registration of new companies (+6.8%).
This is the fifth consecutive quarter in which there has been an increase in bankruptcies, after a 9.6% drop in the second quarter of 2021. The increase was even more significant in the Eurozone (19.3%), according to the office of European statistics.
Only the transport sector escaped this increase, registering a 5.4% decrease in bankruptcies in the third quarter. Accommodation and food services (+24.0%), financial and insurance activities (+17.8%), and industry (+16.2%) saw the biggest increases.
Among the Member States, Romania was the country where insolvency proceedings shrank the most, with a decline of 36.1%, followed by Cyprus (-32.7%) and Estonia (-21.3%). It should be noted that in 11 of the 16 Member States with available data, the number of bankruptcies has decreased. Conversely, the largest increase in bankruptcies was seen in Hungary (+110.6%), followed by Spain (+66.1%) and Lithuania (+4%).
At the same time, the registration of new companies in the community block increased by 2.6% in the third quarter of this year compared to the previous three months, after a slight decline in the first two quarters. In fact, the number of new companies in the first nine months of the year exceeded the number of registrations in the same period in 2019, before the pandemic.
Compared to the second quarter of 2022, the biggest increases in new company registrations were observed in Romania (+13.8%), Hungary (+8.0%), and Portugal (+6.8%), while Ireland (-44.0%), Slovakia (-8.7%) and Estonia (-5.4%) recorded the biggest declines.
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