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Business

German insolvencies decrease, but liabilities explode

German statisticians have reported a further decline in the number of insolvencies in the first half of the current year. This is good news, but outstanding liabilities have almost doubled year-on-year.

Fewer German companies filed for insolvency in the first six month of 2012, compared with the same period last year, the National Statistics Office (Destatis) reported on Friday.

District courts registered a total of 14,776 corporate insolvencies between January and June, marking a 3.1-percent dip from levels reached in the first half of 2011.

Household insolvencies also went down by 3.9 percent, with 49,750 cases logged, Destatis said. But while the number of bankruptcies dipped tangibly, outstanding claims by creditors exploded.

Heavyweights affected, too

Destatis spoke of 28.3 billion euros ($35.85 billion) in open receivables, an 80-percent increase year-on-year.

"The fact that liabilities soared despite the decline in the number of insolvencies can be explained by the bankruptcy of more bigger and economically more important companies," Destatis said in a statement.

Among the most spectacular cases of insolvencies in the period in question were the drugstore retail chain Schlecker as well as the German solar companies Q-Cells and Sovello.

The last time the number of corporate failures increased in Germany was during the global financial crisis in 2009, with the highest-ever number of domestic insolvencies recorded back in 2003 when a total of 39,320 businesses threw in the towel.

hg/pfd (AFP, dapd)