The number of German companies that went bust fell for the third consecutive year in 2012 to a level last seen in 2000. Nevertheless, a few high-profile bankruptcies drove up the total sum of outstanding debt.
Last year, the number of German businesses filing for insolvency protection reached 28,304 - down 6 percent compared with the previous year, latest data released by the German Federal Statistics Office, Destatis, said.
Destatis data showed that the 2012 figure marked the third annual decline in a row and was the lowest since 2000. The highest number of German insolvencies ever was recorded in 2003 when about 39,000 businesses went bust, Destatis added.
The number of household insolvencies also declined, Destatis said, falling by 5.5 percent to about 97,000.
The decline was good news, Christoph Niering, head of the German Insolvency Administrators' Association (VID), told Reuters news agency. However, it was unclear if the positive trend would continue in 2013 as the prospects for the German economy were hugely diverging at the moment.
Last year was marked by a number of big corporate failures, such as the bankruptcy of drugstore chain Schlecker, leading to higher outstanding claims of creditors than in the year before.
They rose from 31.5 billion euros ($40.9 billion) in 2011 to 51.7 billion euros in 2012, the statisticians added.
uhe/mz (AFP, Reuters)