The bankruptcy statistic

May 2020: 270 bankruptcies

Economic indicators
May 2020: 270 bankruptcies

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.

Purpose and brief description

The number of business bankruptcies in Belgium is based on information from the business register of the Directorate General Statistics of the FPS Economy supplemented by the statements of the commercial courts. Since January 1998, when the law of 8 August 1997 on bankruptcy and the law of 17 July 1997 on the composition of the court entered into force, the commercial courts send data concerning bankrupts to Statbel.


Enterprises responding to the bankruptcy law



Timing of publication

Results available 20 days after the reference period


Legal person VAT :Legal form as defined according to VAT requirements (at all points in accordance with the Nomenclature Table LU_COM. TU_COM_LGL_PSN_VAT)

Number of bankruptcies : An enterprise is in a state of bankruptcy if two conditions are met: On the one hand, it must have durably ceased payments, i.e. it no longer pays his creditors. On the other hand, it must be uncreditworthy. In other words: it has lost creditors' confidence. The bank refuses to grant a loan for example. A company is obliged to acknowledge its bankruptcy within the month following the cessation of payments. This decision is taken by the board of directors or the manager.


Remark regarding bankruptcies - A bankruptcy always relates to one company. A legal construction in which several people have set up one company, such as with a VOF (partnership firm), can only give rise to one bankruptcy