Published on Monday, April 12, 2021

“Bankruptcies are starting to pick up because people realize that money is not going to fix the wounds of lost customers.”


Nearly double the number of companies entered bankruptcy in March than in February, the largest number in a single month since July, <according to S&P Global Market Intelligence.<

A total of 61 companies entered bankruptcy last month, and while the pace of filings has slowed year-over-year, that number hearkens back to the dog days of summer 2020, when every day brought a new big-name BK. As of March 31, a total of 138 U.S. companies have filed bankruptcy; last year, 153 had filed by the same date.<

S&P reported in January that US <corporate bankruptcies in 2020 reached their worst levels since 2010.< A total of 630 companies declared bankruptcy last year, a significant uptick from 2019 levels, when 578 entered bankruptcy.  <

S&P’s data includes public companies or private companies with public debt with a minimum of $2 million in assets or liabilities at the time of filing, in addition to private companies with at least $10 million in assets or liabilities, the firm said in a recent analysis of the latest figures. <

Many companies have been buoyed by easier access to capital and PPP funds in recent months, which has likely kept bankruptcy filings lower, but experts tell S&P that the pace of filings will likely accelerate later this year<—
The retail and hospitality industries are particularly at risk, with a higher number of brands in those sectors entering bankruptcy so far in 2021 than in others. <

“March is just the beginning of people cleaning house,”
Robert Hirsh, a partner in Lowenstein Sandler LLP's bankruptcy and restructuring department, told S&P he expects bankruptcy filings to slow in the second and third quarters and may pick up slightly at the end of the year.

“Are there going to be bankruptcies? Yeah, for sure, but definitely less than what people originally anticipated,” Hirsh told S&P.