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The sheer number of north west companies which failed recently fell 3.9 % compared to September 2010 but remained the highest outside Greater London and the south east, new figures show.

The latest insolvency index from information services company Experian shows 196 firms went bust in the region last month out of a total of 1,732 nationwide.

The figure represented 0.1 % of all businesses in the region.

Nationally, smaller firms bore the brunt with over 1,000 insolvencies among those employing 50 or fewer staff. Business services, building and construction, leisure and hotels, non-food retailing and property were the sectors with the most failures.

angel of the northNorth East micro businesses worst hit for insolvencies

Micro businesses employing only 1 or 2 people in the north east experienced the largest rise in annual insolvencies last month, according to business data group Experian.

The volume of micro firms to hit the wall increased by 25 % to 258, representing 0.06 percent of the nation’s entire business population.

The business insolvency rate in the UK is calculated by comparing the amount of businesses that failed with the total business population of the nation. Across the board, the north east remains the region with the highest rate of corporate insolvencies that is in line with a small nationwide increase throughout 2011.

Over the entire UK business population, the pace of insolvencies increased with 0.09 % of British businesses failing in September, up from 0.08 % year-on-year.

Scotland maintained the smallest insolvency rate in the UK with only 0.07 % of businesses insolvent, as the West Midlands experienced the most worrying increase of insolvencies from 0.08 % to 0.11 % year-on-year. Probably the most financially stable businesses within the UK last month were oil companies, while food retailers performed the worst in the report.

The managing director of Experian Business Information Services in the UK and Ireland Max Firth, said: “While larger businesses bucked the trend in September, our analysis underlines how important it is that companies understand the financial strength of their customers, suppliers and business partners.

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