East Midlands agriculture sector amongst top UK performers

Chris Radford, Gateley

East Midlands agriculture businesses are outperforming the majority of their regional counterparts as new research reveals that they are amongst the most financially stable in the UK.

February figures compiled by insolvency and restructuring body R3’s Midlands branch, using Bureau Van Dijk’s Fame database, show that around three-in-ten – 29.2% – agriculture companies in the region are at higher than normal risk of insolvency. This is one of the lowest percentages in the UK and equates to 646 local businesses.

Wales has the highest proportion of agriculture companies at elevated risk of insolvency with 41.8%, which is almost ten percentage points higher than the UK average of 32.0%.

In contrast, the news is less positive for the region’s transport and haulage sector, which has a higher proportion of firms at above average risk than any of its regional counterparts, with the exception of Yorkshire and the West Midlands. Around two-in-five local companies – 44.6% – are at higher than normal risk of insolvency, which is more than four percentage points above the UK average of 40.2%, but under the Yorkshire and West Midlands statistics of 48.6% and 44.9% respectively.

The February research indicates that over one-in-three East Midlands companies – 37.1% – currently have an elevated insolvency risk, which equates to 78,404 local businesses. In February 2017, the proportion was one-in-four, or 24.7%, representing 48,578 businesses.

Commenting on the research, R3 Midlands Chair Chris Radford, a partner at the Nottingham office of Gateley plc, said: “There are glimmers of regional positivity to be seen in these latest R3 statistics, but the overall picture is a cause for concern. The percentage of East Midlands businesses at greater than usual risk of insolvency was higher in January and February this year than at any point in 2017.

“All too frequently, it is not until a company is on the brink of insolvency that its owners seek financial advice. If businesses sought professional help sooner, then far more could be done to help them survive.”