In 2002, Germany had to cope with the biggest rise in insolvencies of all 15 European countries. According to the financial information group Creditreform in Düsseldorf, the number of bankruptcies in Germany increased by 66.4 percent to a total of 82,400. Creditreform estimates that around 37,700 German companies went bust in 2002, 16.4 percent more than in 2001.
This year the number of corporate bankruptcies in Germany is expected to reach a new record of 40,000-42,000. Companies in the commercial, construction and services sectors would be hardest hit, because that was where weak consumer demand and an unwillingness to invest were making themselves felt most directly, Creditreform said. Big corporate bankruptcies last year included the collapse of construction group Philipp Holzmann and private media giant Kirch. In Europe, Germany is leading the list of bankruptcy rates and related layoffs, followed by Spain. Creditreform forecasts a decrease in insolvencies only for Greece, Ireland, and Luxemburg.