Eastern agricultural businesses outperform UK but other sectors struggle

Agricultural firms in the East of England are outperforming those from elsewhere in the UK, yet more than a quarter remain threatened by insolvency, the latest figures show.

According to insolvency and restructuring trade body R3, 26.9% of agricultural firms in the region are deemed to be at above normal risk of insolvency.

Equating to more than 850 businesses it represents the lowest total for the sector of any location in the UK and is considerably below the nationwide average.

However, nearly 42% of Welsh agricultural firms are at risk of insolvency, close to 10% higher than the national average of 32%.

Calculated using Bureau Van Dijk’s Fame database, the latest figures from R3’s Eastern branch reveal that a number of firms across various different sectors are facing serious financial difficulties.

While the agricultural sector in the East of England is performing resolutely, the region’s tourism sector has a higher proportion of firms at above average risk than the majority of the UK.

Only tourism firms in Yorkshire, the South East and South West have a higher level of insolvency than eastern firms where 37.4% are deemed to be at risk. For context, the UK average for the sector stands at 34%.

Across all sectors, some 39% of firms in the East of England are facing an above normal risk of insolvency – an estimated 133,250 businesses.

That is a significant increase from the same month in 2017 when 25% of firms were in such a position – then equating to just shy of 85,000 companies.

R3’s Eastern chair Mark Upton revealed that despite “glimmers of positivity” in the figures, the wider situation is “a cause for concern”.

He noted that the threat of insolvency for eastern businesses in the three months to February was higher than at any point in the last 12 months.

It’s important to note that any business that is facing up to a serious threat of insolvency should seek advice at the earliest possible opportunity.

This should increase the likelihood of finding a suitable solution, as various restructuring methods could be employed or alternative finance options sought to enable a firm to keep trading.

By Phil Smith


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