98 bankruptcies in week 1
During the week from 4 to 10 January included (week 1), the business courts pronounced 98 bankruptcies, resulting in a total of 179 job losses. The number of bankruptcies shows a clear increase, both in comparison with the last week of 2020 and the first week of previous years. However, it should be noted that both in week 53 of 2020 and in week 1 of the previous years, there was a public holiday, where the business courts were closed.
The number of bankruptcies and job losses for the first week of the year
This is what emerged from the weekly bankruptcy figures produced by Statbel based on the orders of business courts. These interim weekly estimates make it possible to quickly observe the first trends.
Purpose and brief description
Every month, Statbel calculates the bankruptcy figures for the previous month. The figures are published around 15 days after the reference month. On this date, the bankruptcy figures are final. In addition to the monthly figures, Statbel can also make interim weekly estimates. These weekly figures make it possible to quickly observe the first trends. In addition to the figures on the number of bankruptcies, Statbel also always calculates the related job losses. For the job losses, Statbel uses the latest information available from the NSSO.
The bankruptcy statistics produced by Statbel are based on data from the Crossroads Bank of Enterprises (CBE) and the statistical business register. 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 business court. As a result, an economic impact is only visible in the figures with some delay.
Because of the measures taken during the Covid-19 crisis and the related lockdown, business courts and registries limited their activities until 18 May 2020. Furthermore, until 17 June 2020, a temporary moratorium was in force in order to protect the enterprises that were in good health before 18 March 2020 against the consequences of the Covid-19 crisis.
From 6 November 2020 onwards and due to the second wave of coronavirus, the government approved a new moratorium on bankruptcy proceedings until 31 January 2021 and committed itself to working on a new, simpler, faster and more efficient procedure for judicial reorganisation, always with the objective of creating the conditions for the continuity of enterprises in difficulty.
Between these two moratoriums, the tax administration and the NSSO spared, by a de facto moratorium, enterprises by not declaring them bankrupt due to tax and social debts.
Moreover, there was the judicial recess in July and August. Courts remained open during this period but the number of hearings was reduced. This is why our figures on bankruptcies are usually lower during this period.
Many measures are in force - at federal, regional and local level - to support enterprises in these times of crisis. For example the NSSO grants voluntary payment plans for a maximum duration of 24 months for the payment of all contributions and sums due for the year 2020. At the level of the FPS Finances, enterprises encountering financial difficulties due to the spread of the coronavirus can ask for support measures until 31.03.2021.
All these public measures described above have had a moderating impact on the number of bankruptcies declared since March.
Enterprises subject to the law of 11 August 2017 adding a new Book XX ‘Insolvency of Enterprises’ to the Economic Law Code, and introducing the definitions specific to Book XX and the implementing provisions specific to Book XX in the Book I of the Economic Law Code, as published in the Belgian Official Journal on 11 September 2017. Title VI of Book XX contains the rules on bankruptcy.
Timing of publication
The weekly bankruptcy figures are available three working days after the reference week. As the reference week runs from Monday to Sunday included, Statbel publishes the bankruptcies of the previous week every Wednesday.
A bankruptcy is pronounced as soon as an enterprise meets two conditions:
- The enterprise is no longer able to pay its bills;
- The enterprise does not find any new credits.
A bankruptcy always concerns one enterprise. A legal arrangement in which several persons have set up the same enterprise is counted as one bankruptcy.
Statbel calculates the job losses related to a bankruptcy based on the latest information available from the NSSO.
For the production of the weekly bankruptcy figures, Statbel uses one reference week. This reference week always runs from Monday to Sunday included. The annual results based on the reference week may therefore differ slightly from the annual figures, as the calendar year does not usually start on a Monday.