When interpreting the figures, account should be taken of the fact that there is some delay between the cessation of the economic activity and the declaration of bankruptcy by the commercial court. As a result, an economic impact is only visible in the figures with some delay.
Furthermore, due to the Covid-19 crisis, many business courts and registries operated at reduced capacity and limited their activities until 18 May. Since then, they have generally gradually restarted their activities. Consequently, the current figures should not be considered as a reliable measure of the actual economic situation.
Besides, a royal decree was published in the Belgian Official Journal on 24/04/2020 that resulted in the freezing of the bankruptcy proceedings in courts. The purpose of this decision is to protect enterprises that were healthy before 18 March 2020 from the effects of the Covid-19 crisis (Royal Decree nº 15 regarding the temporary suspension in favour of undertakings of enforcement measures and other measures during the Covid-19 crisis). This moratorium, which originally ran until 17 May, has been extended until 17 June 2020.
These elements have a major impact on the figures that Statbel decided to publish anyway.
In May 2020, 270 enterprises were declared bankrupt in Belgium.
The bankruptcies registered in May resulted in 418 job losses: 190 full-time jobs, 109 part-time jobs and 119 salaried employers.
These are the sectors with the highest number of bankruptcies in May: 81 bankruptcies in the transport sector, 63 in wholesale and retail trade, 58 in construction and 53 in the sector of accommodation and food service activities.
At regional level, there were 175 bankruptcies in Flanders, 69 in Wallonia and 26 in Brussels.