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Monday, 8 July, 2002, 05:47 GMT 06:47 UK
Wales leads UK bust firms league
Business graphic
The report said 847 Welsh firms had folded in 2002
Wales has seen the biggest rise in the number of firms going bust during the last six months, according to a new survey.

Nearly 22,000 businesses in the UK have folded in 2002 so far - a rise of 8.2% on the same period last year.

Company closures
Wales: +15.1%
South West: +14.8%
Scotland: +14.6%
London: +14.3%
West Midlands: +11.8%
South East: +11.2%
North West: +4.2%
East: -1.7%
North East: -2.1%
East Midlands: -6.1%

The research, compiled by business information firm Dun & Bradstreet, showed that 847 of these firms were in Wales - a 15.1% increase compared with early 2001.

Other areas with an increase in closures were Scotland, London and south west England.

Only three regions - the East Midlands, North East and Eastern - registered a decrease in the number of business failures.

Within the six-month period covered by the study though, the rate of closures across the UK was dropping - more of the firms went bust in the first quarter of the year than the second quarter.

In April, research showed that the number of new businesses being started up in Wales was lagging 30% behind the UK average.

Analysts at the University of Glamorgan's business school reported "a culture that is inappropriate to the fast-changing global landscape".

Barriers to growth

Unveiling the research, director Professor Michael Quayle said 52% of small- and medium-sized companies in Wales had no intention of selling products beyond its borders.

Of the remaining firms with global ambitions, fewer than 9% use the internet to plug in to potential consumers around the world.

Sixty-one percent of global operators said a lack of skills, including "internationalised thinking", was their major barrier to such growth.

And public-sector companies had "an absence of long-term strategic management and an unwillingness to collaborate with the private sector".

Prof Quayle said: "It's a culture which locks in to the status quo.

"This will not achieve the stretching targets of A Winning Wales" - the ambitious Welsh Assembly target of 135,000 new jobs by 2012.

However, the head of the Small Firms Unit at Cardiff Business School has played down the significance of the survey.

Brian Morgan said the figure of 847 bankruptcies and liquidations represented a failure rate of only 0.5% - and he did not see any other evidence that firms had failed in unusual numbers.

  • Welsh businesses looking to trade overseas stand to benefit from an 8.6m initiative, launched on Monday.

    Almost 4m of Objective One money is going towards the Welsh Assembly scheme, aimed at encouraging the development of international trade.

    The balance will come from the assembly Pathway to Prosperity fund and the private sector.

    The initiative is aimed at small and medium sized businesses looking to export for the first time or who are keen to develop new international market opportunities.

  • See also:

    03 Apr 02 | Wales
    27 Feb 02 | Business
    13 Dec 01 | Wales
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