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Eurozone haunted by 'ghost bankruptcies' as 200,000 firms at risk – alarm bells ring

Eurozone haunted by ‘ghost bankruptcies’ as 200,000 firms at risk – alarm bells ring

Hundreds of billions of euros have been spent on support measures to help companies throughout the continent stay alive, thus limiting the number of bankruptcies over the past year. During the third quarter of 2020 (July to September), bankruptcies fell by nearly a fifth compared to 12 months earlier. But research from the Bank of America has set alarm bells ringing, with analysts warning the number of companies across Germany, France, Spain and Italy could plunge by up to three percent before the end of 2022 as they struggle for survival.

The report’s modelling uses Eurostat’s 2018 business population figures, and estimates 76,000 firms could collapse in Spain, as well as 59,000 in France, 57,000 in Italy and 27,000 in Germany.

These countries represent the four biggest economies in the EU, worth an eyewatering £7.2trillion combined.

Alessandro Infelise Zhou and Ruben Segura-Cayuela, who co-wrote the report, warned: “Reported bankruptcies may remain ‘ghosts’ for now, but longer-term economic scarring may be waiting for us just around the corner.

“The longer-term damage to Germany’s businesses looks relatively contained, while Spain looks in much more trouble.

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