Spike in Italian insolvencies causes concern

Posted on 18 Apr 2012 by Tim Brown

Alarming figures from Italy have been reported today in Italy's premiere newspaper, Corriere Dela Sera, showing a startling 146,368 SME businesses have failed in the first three months of 2012.

The figures from the Italian Union of the Chamber of Commerce (Unioncamera) show that while 120,278 enterprises were created in Italy over the same period, the difference of -26,090 is three times greater than the -9,638 figure from the fist three months of 2011. Disappointingly this indicates a return to the peak of the economic downturn for Italy when the first quarter of 2009 showed a decrease in operating businesses of -30,706.

“The success of the Made in Italy brand worldwide is not enough to sustain employment and ensure the well-being lost in these last few years of economic crisis,” said Ferruccio Dardanello, president of Unioncamere. “We need policies supporting the smallest enterprises, on which the future of millions of families and young people depends. As well as on credit and red tape, extraordinary actions need to be taken on employment and taxation. The Chambers of Commerce will increase their effort to support the economy, especially in Southern Italy, which is particularly struggling at the moment.”

Figures for the UK for this year are so far unavailable from BIS but last years data showed that the UK was in a much stronger position with a total increase in private sector businesses of +94,000 (2.1%). The total number of manufacturing companies that became insolvent in the first three quarters of 2011 totalled just 149. While the UK figures are certainly positive, the fact that Italy is suffering so badly does not bode well for the Eurozone recovery and will inevitably send shockwaves through the UK market.