Fewer bankruptcies in 2020

Statistics Netherlands (CBS) reports that, adjusted for court session days, there were 40 fewer corporate bankruptcies in December than in November 2020. With the December figure being known, the figure for the entire year can also be provided. The total number of businesses and institutions (excluding sole proprietorships) filing for bankruptcy in 2020 stood at 2,703, the lowest level in 20 years.

Number of bankruptcies of businesses and institutions (excluding sole proprietorships) adjusted for court sessions days
YearMonthNumber of bankruptcies
2017January336
2017February292
2017March304
2017April263
2017May281
2017June300
2017July266
2017August231
2017September237
2017October261
2017November251
2017December269
2018January273
2018February232
2018March266
2018April266
2018May259
2018June248
2018July251
2018August257
2018September224
2018October264
2018November277
2018December328
2019January286
2019February254
2019March277
2019April281
2019May264
2019June271
2019July274
2019August261
2019September257
2019October253
2019November288
2019December243
2020January272
2020February271
2020March259
2020April335
2020May265
2020June231
2020July 205
2020August175
2020September184
2020October171
2020November178
2020December138

Number of bankruptcies at historically low level

The number of corporate bankruptcies (excluding sole proprietorships), adjusted for court session days, is seen to fluctuate significantly. Ups and downs alternate in rapid succession. The number of bankruptcies peaked in May 2013 (816). The number then decreased up to and including August 2017. Subsequently, the trend remained fairly flat until July 2020. Since then, the trend has been downwards. In December 2020, the number of bankruptcies (on a monthly basis) reached its lowest level since February 1991.

Number of bankrupties in 2020 down by 16 percent year-on-year

Over the entire year 2020, a total of 2,703 bankruptcies were pronounced. This represents a year-on-year decrease of 16 percent. Many companies were affected by the coronavirus crisis in 2020, but the number of bankruptcies was at the lowest level in 20 years.

The number of bankruptcies peaked in 2013 at 8,376 and subsequently dropped for five consecutive years. In 2019, the number of bankruptcies increased slightly, but the level was still relatively low. In 2020, the number of bankruptcies decreased again, to the lowest level in 20 years. The fact that fewer companies were declared bankrupt in times of coronavirus cannot be seen in isolation from the government support.

Number of bankruptcies of businesses and institutions (excluding sole proprietorships)
 Number
20002621
20013333
20024085
20035235
20045267
20055083
20064228
20073589
20083842
20096942
20106162
20116117
20127349
20138376
20146645
20155271
20164399
20173291
20183145
20193209
20202703

Sharpest decrease in trade

The number of bankruptcies dropped in almost every sector. In absolute terms, the decrease was most pronounced in the trade sector. Its total fell by 149, from 730 in 2019 to 581 in 2020. In wholesale, retail trade and trade and repair of motor vehicles, the number of bankruptcies dropped by 69, 41 and 39 respectively. Furthermore, the specialised business services sector (including research and consulting firms) saw a decrease of 107. In relative terms, care (health and welfare) was among the sectors with the largest decrease. 

However, the accommodation and food services sector was faced with the strongest increase: 39 bankruptcies. In accommodation services (including hotels), the number of bankruptcies rose by 25 and in food and beverage services (including restaurants and cafes) by 14. A relatively large number of bankruptcies were declared in the second quarter of 2020.

Just as in previous years, most bankruptcies were pronounced in the trade sector (581) in 2020. Trade is among the sectors with the highest number of businesses.

Number of bankruptcies of businesses and institutions (excluding sole proprietorships) by sector
Sector20202019
Trade581730
Financial services312396
Specialised business services292399
Construction253291
Accommodation and food services235196
Renting and other business services220234
Manufacturing200244
Transportation and storage188182
Information and communication85135
Care81139
Arts, sports and recreation7355
Other service activities5754
Real estate activities4253
Education3831
Agriculture, forestry and fisheries1723

Figures published in this news release are provisional and subject to revision.