Slide in corporate insolvencies sign of recovering economy

Insolvencies down 15% in 2014 but low level of examinations remains ‘disappointing’

Liquidations will likely continue to fall in 2015.

Corporate insolvencies fell by 15 per cent in 2014, as the number of companies going out of business continued to slide thanks to a gradually recovering economy.

According to statistics compiled by Deloitte and published by, there were 1164 insolvencies recorded in 2014, a drop of 201 on the 2013 total of 1365. This means that the level of insolvencies in 2014 is about a third below the peak of 1,684 reached in 2012.

David Van Dessel, a partner in restructuring services with Deloitte, said that the fall in insolvencies was in line with forecasts and is indicative of an improving economy

“2015 will likely see similar levels in the number of liquidations, with receiverships in the construction, retail, and hospitality sectors prevailing also as the process is now seen by lenders as a method of preserving, claiming, and extracting value in companies although these are insolvent,” he said.


However, he noted that the “stagnant” level of examinations as a percentage of the total number of corporate insolvencies in 2014, at just 2 per cent, was “unexpected and indeed disappointing”.

“The take-up of examinations by companies to avoid liquidation was disappointing given the recent legislative changes making this a more accessible and cost effective option to smaller companies. We will hopefully observe increased use of this option in 2015. It’s important to bear in mind that this can only happen if companies and their directors act early, a critical factor in any insolvency process.”

Looking ahead, Mr Van Dessel anticipates continued significant activity with regards to rent receiverships and fixed charged receivers appointed to commercial properties in 2015.


Insolvencies continue to weigh on the construction sector, which accounted for 20 per cent of the total number of insolvencies in 2014 – the largest proportion at an industry level.

However, this did reflect an improvement on 2013 when it accounted for a quarter of the total number of insolvencies. The services, retail, and hospitality sectors accounted for 16 per cent, 14 per cent, and 13 per cent respectively, which was broadly in line with prior years.

Companies based in Leinster accounted for the largest portion of the total, at 68 per cent (up 4% on 2013) ; Munster accounted for 19 per cent (4% below 2013); while the number of insolvencies in Connaught and Ulster remained unchanged at 9 per cent and 4 per cent respectively.

On the personal side,310 debt arrangements were agreed by the Irish Insolvency Service, based on almost 1,200 applications received by the end of September 2014. The debt involved with these applications was almost € 520 million, with 75 per cent relating to property debt, and males accounting for 52 per cent of applicants.

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan

Fiona Reddan is a writer specialising in personal finance and is the Home & Design Editor of The Irish Times