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The number of corporate bankruptcies in the January-June period dropped 9 percent from a year earlier to 8,984, but it was the eighth highest since the end of World War II for a calendar first half, Teikoku Databank Ltd. said Monday.

It is the first January-June tally below 9,000 in four years, reflecting corporate efforts to avoid bankruptcy and an improved financing system in the public sector to support struggling businesses, the credit-research agency said.

Restructuring efforts and risk-averse business strategies are among the primary factors behind the decline in failures, which has also been clear in recent monthly data, Teikoku Databank said in a report covering corporate financial ruin involving debts of 10 million yen or more.

Of the failed firms, 6,967 collapsed due to recession-linked factors, including poor sales and inflated bad loans.

The ratio for such failures accounted for 77.5 percent of the total, the highest for a first half-year in the postwar era, the agency said.

Combined debts left by the firms came to 6.45 trillion yen, down 13.3 percent from a year earlier and the sixth worst for a January-June period in the postwar era.

There were a number of failures in the golf and leisure industries, including the case of Japan Golf Promotion Inc., the nation’s largest golf course operator, which went bust in February with debts of 332.2 billion yen.

Bankruptcies dropped 19 percent to 1,418 in the manufacturing sector and 17.1 percent to 1,520 among wholesalers, marking sizable decreases from the first half of last year.

Ten listed firms went bankrupt, down from 22 last year.

In June alone, the number of failures fell 1.2 percent from a year earlier to 1,398, the first tally below 1,400 in 29 months and the sixth consecutive year-on-year decline, Teikoku Databank said.

Liabilities left by the collapses totaled 815.66 billion yen, below 1 trillion yen for the third straight month but still the fourth worst for a June in the postwar period, it said.

Underlining the first-half trend, manufacturer failures declined substantially, by 7.5 percent, and wholesaler failures slid by 12 percent, both falling for the sixth straight month.

Sock maker Fukusuke Corp. was the only listed company that went under in June, leaving debts of 42.6 billion yen.

There were 1,082 recession-induced bankruptcies, accounting for 77.4 percent of the total for the month.