The number of bankruptcies registered in Belgium in 2021 was the lowest since the year 2000, according to the research firm Graydon.
There were 6,918 declarations of bankruptcy in 2021, 12.8% less than in 2020 and 41.5% less than in 2019, the last year before the coronavirus pandemic, Belga News Agency reports.
Bankruptcies increased slightly in the last quarter of 2021 but “remained below the pre-coronavirus level,” Graydon said in a statement on Tuesday.
The fall in the number of bankruptcies was observed in all three regions of the country: courts in Flanders declared 3,659 bankruptcies (-13.1% compared to 2020), Brussels totalled 1,359 (-14.4%) and Wallonia saw 1,830 (-12.2%).
The decrease is even more marked when compared to 2019, before the pandemic: bankruptcies have fallen by 55.8% in Brussels, by 37.6% in Wallonia and by 36.5% in Flanders.
Differences by sectors
In 2021, the construction sector was most affected. Last year, 1,437 construction companies declared bankruptcy, which is slightly more (+2.4%) than in 2020 but much less than in 2019 (-31.1%).
In the hotel and catering sector, the number of bankruptcies fell by 25.7% compared to 2020 and were half of 2019 levels. The third most affected sector was retail trade, where 708 businesses closed (-45% compared to 2019).
The loss of jobs as a result of bankruptcy also reached a low in 2021. According to Graydon, 13,599 jobs were lost due to bankruptcy: 28.5% less than in 2020 and 35% less than in 2019.
Most jobs were lost last year in the hotel and catering sector (2,475), construction (2,437) and business services (1,866). Retail trade saw a rise of 1,727 jobs.