Record number of bankruptcies in Flanders

Flanders recorded the region's highest number of bankruptcies ever last year, mainly in the construction and hospitality sectors. A crackdown on fraudulent companies and the Covid-19 pandemic partly explain the increase.

Flemish commercial courts declared 6,234 bankruptcies in 2022, according to market analysis firm GraydonCreditsafe. The figure represents a 10.66 per cent increase on 2022 and is 2.66 per cent higher than the previous record year of 2013. 

The hardest hit sectors were construction, with 1,387 bankruptcies, and hospitality, with 1,102 businesses. Almost half of the businesses affected were less than five years old. 

The high percentage can be partly explained by a crackdown on fraudulent businesses, which are rarely older than three years, according to GraydonCreditsafe.

The pandemic also played a role, according to the analysis firm. Despite government support, many companies founded just before the pandemic went under because they did not have sufficient reserves to survive the crisis.

After the Covid-19 crisis, companies were also faced with the energy crisis and the sharp increase in wage costs due to automatic wage indexation. Bankruptcies put a total of 11,795 jobs at risk in Flanders in 2023. ​ 

In Belgium as a whole, the number of bankruptcies reached 10,771 in 2023, an increase of 9.65 per cent from the previous year. The construction and hospitality sectors were also the hardest hit at national level. The potential job losses in Belgium due to bankruptcies reached 20,743 in 2023. 


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