DTI figures show the number of companies that went bust in England and Wales in the final three months of 2003 fell by almost a quarter compared to the same period the previous year, down from 4,280 to 3,316.
Mike Oldham, corporate recovery partner at Robson Rhodes, said: ‘I imagine smaller firms specialising in the insolvency market will feel the decline significantly.’
But he believes that things could change dramatically if banks alter their currently optimistic economic forecasts and parallel policy of supporting companies that are in trouble. ‘Businesses had better keep everything crossed – not just their fingers,’ he said.
Keith Goodman, partner at insolvency specialists Leonard Curtis, said: ‘It’s a quiet spell and firms that have expanded in expectation of an upsurge may be forced to amalgamate, merge or close offices.’
The figures also held good news for firms specialising in personal bankruptcies, which rose to levels not seen since 1993.
Steve Absolom and Will Wright from KPMG Restructuring have been appointed joint administrators to City Motor Holdings and associated companies
Partners from Johnston Carmichael have been appointed as joint administrators to Axon Well Interventions Products UK
Begbies Traynor have been appointed administrators of William Anelay Ltd, York, one of Britain’s longest-established construction and heritage restoration companies
Smith & Williamson has been appointed administrators of charity 4Children