R3 South & Thames Valley:  Seek advice at earliest opportunity

WINDING-UP WARNING: Southern and Thames Valley R3 chairman Garry Lee

Insolvency-related activity in the South East levelled off in May, according to new figures.

Analysis by insolvency and restructuring trade body R3 of data provided by Creditsafe shows there were 168 counts of corporate insolvency related activity during the month – up by just one on 167 in April.

Insolvency related activity includes Creditor Voluntary Liquidations, Company Voluntary Arrangements, administrations and creditors’ meetings.

The latest figures for May place the South East sixth out of 12 regions in the UK with the most insolvency-related activity in Greater London (425) and the least in Northern Ireland (10).

Business in the South and Thames Valley region were among those included in the new data.

Garry Lee, chair of R3’s Southern and Thames Valley region, said: “It is welcome to see corporate insolvency related activity remain broadly level in April and May.

“However, it is too early to suggest that activity is plateauing especially as other indicators within the market show a different picture, with rises in bad debts and overdue invoices.

“Businesses in the South and Thames Valley will continue to face significant headwinds as inflation and costs continue to rise and economic volatility persists.”

According to the latest figures, there were 352 firms in the South East in liquidation in May owing a total of £4,738,771 – up from 243 and £3,568,377 in April.

The number of businesses who owed money in respect of overdue invoices rose month on month as well, with 66,482 companies in the South East owing money in excess of agreed credit terms in May, compared to April’s figure of 66,082.

And companies in the South East had 11,021 more unpaid late invoices in May than in April. The statistics showed that there were a total of 735,794 outstanding late invoices in May compared with April’s figure of 724,773.

Garry, who is an associate director in the recovery and restructuring services department at accountancy firm Smith & Williamson’s Southampton office, added: “There is a fine line between resilience and denial.

“Directors or owners of any business in the South and Thames Valley must seek advice at the first sign of business distress, including difficulties in paying bills or having invoices settled.

“The sooner advice is taken from a qualified and regulated advisor, the more options there will be for improving the situation the business is in.”

Creditsafe is a multinational business intelligence expert with services including company credit scores and credit report information.

R3’s Southern & Thames Valley region includes Buckinghamshire, Oxfordshire, Hampshire, the Isle of Wight and Berkshire.