Nearly 50,000 UK firms on the brink of collapse after two years of rising interest rates

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A shocking new report reveals that over 47,000 UK firms are at risk of collapsing due to two years of rising interest rates. Insolvency specialists Begbies Traynor warn that these companies are facing a debt storm.

Number of at-risk firms climbs by 25% in 2023's final quarter

The report found that the number of at-risk firms increased by 25% in the final quarter of 2023. Additionally, 539,900 businesses were deemed to be in "significant financial distress," which is a 13% increase from the previous quarter and a 6% increase from the previous year.

Construction and real estate sectors hardest hit

Among the hardest hit sectors are construction and real estate, with a third and a quarter increase in critical financial distress, respectively. The housing market has been greatly affected by the onslaught of interest rate rises over the past two years.

Concerns grow over construction and real estate sectors

Begbies Traynor expressed serious concerns about the construction and real estate sectors, as they still represent nearly 30% of all businesses in critical financial distress. Housebuilder Crest Nicholson has already issued a profit warning due to the summer slowdown caused by higher mortgage rates and fewer homes for sale.

Tradespeople targeted by criminals in the past year

In other news, a recent warning from insurer NFU Mutual reveals that more than nine out of ten tradespeople have been targeted by criminals in the past year. Half have had materials stolen, a third have had a vehicle stolen, and a quarter have become victims of organized crime.

Fortnum & Mason reports profits climb after opening gin distillery

Upscale food shop Fortnum & Mason has reported climbing profits in the year to July 31, 2023, after opening a gin distillery and cocktail bar at its flagship store in Piccadilly. However, the 317-year-old business warns of challenging operating conditions and wider economic headwinds.

Popeyes plans to double its UK stores and create 2,000 jobs

US chicken chain Popeyes has announced plans to nearly double its UK stores in the next year, creating around 2,000 jobs. Popeyes, known for its fried chicken sandwiches, is looking at new sites in Birmingham, Aberdeen, and Swansea.

Delivery firm EVRI delivers record number of parcels over festive period

Delivery firm EVRI, formerly known as Hermes, has reported delivering a record 150 million parcels over the festive period. This success comes after the company invested £32 million in operations and customer service and hired 6,500 extra staff to handle orders.

Compass Group acquires Ch&Co for £475 million

The world's largest food services firm, Compass Group, has acquired Ch&Co for £475 million. Ch&Co provides hospitality services for venues such as Kew Gardens and the Royal Opera House. With this acquisition, Compass Group now owns businesses including Gather & Gather, Vacherin, and Company Of Cooks.

Kindred Group to be taken over by La Française Des Jeux in £2.3 billion deal

Kindred Group, the owner of Unibet and 32Red, is set to be taken over by French and Irish lotteries owner La Française Des Jeux in a £2.3 billion deal. Shareholders have been advised to accept the value for their shares, which is 25% higher than Friday's closing price.

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