The latest Hughes Blake SME Examinership Index, published today, reveals that the examinership process saved a total of 1,089 jobs in small and medium sized businesses in the first nine months of this year.
This figure represents a 52% increase on the same period in 2013, with 539 jobs having been saved in Q3 alone, which was the first quarter to include both Circuit Court and High Court examinerships.
For the first time, the Index is displaying results from both the Circuit Court and the High Court further to the successful completion of the State’s first Circuit Court examinership by children’s play centre Celbridge Playzone in Naas, Co. Kildare in July.
“Despite the fact that the economy is clearly recovering, the Index demonstrates that there continues to be a significant number of small and medium sized businesses throughout the country who still need to restructure in order to address legacy debt issues. For many, the challenges of the past few years are not over and the reality is that they aren’t yet on a viable footing for a sustainable future. Addressing the issues through an examinership is emerging as a preferred route for those companies as they are in a position to prove that they have a real prospect of survival in the future.
“In the past quarter that were 10 successful examinerships concluded – this resulted in securing 539 badly needed jobs in those companies rescued. The fact that companies can now engage in the process through the Circuit Court rather than the High Court is expected to continue to increase the numbers coming through.
“Celbridge Playzone was the first company to successfully come through a Circuit Court examinership in July of this year. We anticipate that the end of year data for 2014 will further reflect the high level of interest in the mechanism in the Circuit Court as more SME businesses try to address their debts in order to secure their future and be in a position to take advantage of the economic upswing that is clearly underway,” said Neil Hughes, managing partner of Hughes Blake Chartered Accountants.
Hughes pointed out a trend revealed in the results indicating a heavy reliance on the mechanism from Ireland’s hospitality sector.
“Hotels and bars outside the capital were very badly hit during the recession and we are still seeing the impact of this sustained period of hardship in the nature of the enterprises that are seeking the examinership process. Many more are now successfully emerging from the examinership process, giving them the opportunity to trade profitably into the future and to continue to act as valued local employers.”
Commenting more broadly about the general economic performance Hughes said: “Through our general practice, tax and audit departments we are coming into contact with hundreds of SME businesses every month. There is a lot of optimism and positive sentiment amongst companies in all sectors and this is backed up by their business performance. For the first time in many years there is clear and tangible evidence of a turnaround. Often the national sentiment and positivity can take a while to trickle down to local businesses but thankfully this seems to be happening already. The vast majority of businesses we act for believe the recession is well and truly over,” he concluded.