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Jump in bankruptcies and decline in business creations: which departments suffered the most in 2023?

Inflation, global conflicts, high interest rates.

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Jump in bankruptcies and decline in business creations: which departments suffered the most in 2023?

Inflation, global conflicts, high interest rates... The French entrepreneurial fabric has not emerged unscathed from the economic turbulence of 2023. “The sharp increase in collective procedures and the contraction in business creation reveal the "instability of French companies in the face of multifactorial crises", indicates the National Council of Registrars of Commercial Courts in its latest report, dated April 24. While no region has been spared from this series of headwinds, certain territories have managed to do well over the past year. Le Figaro takes stock.

A sign of the economic slowdown, business creations fell by 5% compared to 2022 nationally. The region most courted by entrepreneurs remains Île-de-France, which concentrated almost 30% of new business registrations last year, a rate higher than 1.4 points in 2022 and 3 points compared to 2019. The Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur region also confirms its attractiveness, since it accounted for more than a tenth of French business creations last year, a figure up 0.2 points. Conversely, the Occitanie regions (9.5% of the total, -0.3 points) and Nouvelle-Aquitaine (8.4%, -0.3 points) lost ground. “The distribution of business creation closely follows the relative economic weight of the regions,” note the clerks. The latter, however, underline the “good performance” of the overseas territories, in particular Guyana, Mayotte and Reunion in the creation of new entities.

The analysis by department highlights significant disparities within the regions themselves. If we consider the example of the Pays de la Loire region, the hardest hit with a 13% decline in the creation of structures, the Mayenne and Vendée departments are suffering the blow, while that of Sarthe is doing well. of the game. The decline in business creation remains limited in the Sarthois territory, marked by a high prevalence of commercial activity. Businesses, which represent 20% of Sarthois businesses, have been increasing steadily since 2020, as have structures linked to financial or consulting activity. “These are sectors which display a certain robustness in the face of macroeconomic shocks and the territories which know how to attract them are doing better,” comments Thierry Millon, consultant for the consultancy firm Altarès.

More broadly, the Alpes-Maritimes departments, Aube, Aveyron, Hauts-de-Seine, Jura, Seine-Saint-Denis, Territoire de Belfort, Val-de-Marne, Val-d Oise, Paris and Yvelines are doing brilliantly: their contingent of companies was higher in 2023 than in 2022, or only slightly decreased (less than 3% decrease).

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The past year has given French commercial courts a lot of work to do. The CNGTC data demonstrates a real “explosion” in the number of collective procedures (judicial recovery, safeguard procedure, judicial liquidation), which have crossed the 50,000 mark, an increase of 35% compared to 2022. For Victor Geneste, president of the CNGTC, “the end of exceptional state aid granted to businesses during the pandemic is clearly felt”. The phenomenon goes beyond the “catch-up effect” that specialists anticipated after several years of health crisis. “The figures for 2023 exceed the standards before the pandemic, when the number of collective procedures was around 45,000 on annual average,” note the clerks.

Three large sectors share more than half of the procedures: commerce (23%), construction (19.9%), accommodation and catering (14.9%). Collective procedures jumped by 40% in accommodation and catering and real estate activities. “This explosion of procedures is due to two factors, firstly the repayment of the social debt, in particular for restaurants, and a very poor economic situation, which has limited real estate purchases and current consumption,” underlines Thierry Millon.

No territory was spared by this wave. All departments show significant increases in procedures, with the exception of Aine and Meuse. The situation is particularly worrying in the departments of Aveyron, Corse du Sud, Doubs, Haute-Garonne, Haute-Loire, Hautes-Pyrénées, Hauts-de-Seine, Indre-et-Loire, Landes, Mayotte, Puy-de-Dôme, Réunion and Territoire de Belfort, which show an increase in procedures of more than 50%. “The situation marks a return to deterioration for all regions, with a marked peak from the end of 2023. There are construction companies in each region, but this sector alone accounts for a quarter of bankruptcies, in due to difficulties in the real estate market. Even Île-de-France, which had resisted the longest, ended up being affected,” says Thierry Millon.

The Ile-de-France region saw its number of collective procedures increase by 37.5% between the two years. “Regions which have a strong activity focused on tourism, such as the PACA region and especially Corsica, have also suffered because inflation has pushed them to reduce spending.” More than 330 placements in recovery, liquidation, or safeguard procedures were recorded last year on the Isle of Beauty, an increase of 47.5% in one year! “Beyond the figures, we must be vigilant because these major trends are deteriorating business relationships, so much so that the bankruptcy of one company can lead to that of another, although in good health, through a snowball effect , especially in small territories like Corsica,” notes the expert.

Still, the 2023 results are not entirely negative. The radiation statistics remain generally satisfactory across France. “Slightly increasing in 2022, the number of deregistrations drops significantly in 2023, witnessing the resilience of the entrepreneurial fabric, but also the effectiveness of the measures put in place by the public authorities to help entrepreneurs,” argue the clerks . Only rare regions saw radiation increase exponentially between the two years: Guyana (121%) and Seine-Saint-Denis (101%). “The succession of crises and the rise in uncertainties ultimately act as a catalyst for new offers and acceleration of structural transformations of the economy,” assure the clerks.

“Activities such as industry are holding up very well, notably the aeronautical, nuclear and even automobile sectors: the territories which host them are better equipped to withstand the economic situation,” agrees Thierry Millon. The expert believes that entrepreneurial dynamics are particularly encouraging in Burgundy-Franche-Comté, Auvergne Rhône Alpes, New Aquitaine and Occitanie. For all territories, the year 2024 promises to be more encouraging than the year 2023, despite the difficult first months. “Household consumption can revive, in particular through leisure and the Olympic Games effect,” he predicts, while indicating that the territories which do not “manage to find a second entrepreneurial wind” (Corsica, Picardy, Center. ..) will remain on the tightrope.

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