Bankruptcies across Belgium increased by more than 9% in the first quarter of this year compared to the same period in 2022, with Flanders registering a record number of companies declaring themselves insolvent, the Brussels Times reported. According to a study published on Monday by market analysis firm Graydon Creditsafe, which was reported on by l'Echo, a total of 2,669 Belgian businesses declared themselves bankrupt in the first quarter of 2023 — 9.43% more than over the same period in 2022. Among these businesses, a disproportionate number were based in Flanders.
The last Belgian locations of the international cash-and-carry store Makro will close their doors forever on Friday, RTL Info reports, the Brussels Times reported. In total, 1,300 employees will lose their jobs. The Makro group has been teetering on the verge of bankruptcy for many months. Following the legal reorganization in June, all of the company’s real estate assets were transferred to German rival Metro. Metro was recently bought out by Dutch retail group Sligro, saving nine out of eleven of the Makro locations and 500 jobs.
Workers walked off the job in Greece and Belgium on Wednesday during nationwide strikes against increasing consumer prices, disrupting transportation, forcing flight cancellations and shutting down public services in the latest European protests over the rising cost of living, the Associated Press reported. In Greece, where workers were holding a 24-hour general strike, thousands of protesters marched through the streets of Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki.
Belgian tax authorities and National Social Security Office, ONSS, have agreed, for the moment, not to declare businesses that are too heavily indebted bankrupt, Justice Minister Vincent Van Quickenborne told the Chamber’s Economic Affairs Commission this week, the Brussels Times reported. A moratorium on bankruptcies ended on Monday and Parliament is yet to approve a new bill on the judicial reorganisation procedure. Amendments to a text prepared by the Government were submitted only on Friday.
The board of the tour operator Neckermann, which runs a chain of travel agents across Belgium, has given itself until 22 February to solve its cash problems or declare bankruptcy, the Brussels Times reported. The deadline is a last-ditch effort to save the company, and the jobs of its 150 employees. In 2019 Neckermann Belgium was saved from the brink of bankruptcy after the collapse of the British parent company Thomas Cook when 62 of the 91 branches were taken over by Spanish tour company Wamos and rebranded as Neckermann.