Companies in the wholesale and distribution, retail and construction sectors were the biggest corporate victims claimed by the recession in 2009, with over 53% share in total number of bankruptcy filings in 2009, or 9682 cases.

Coface study examines companies that filed for bankruptcy, companies undergoing legal restructuring, and companies for which the bankruptcy procedures have been closed on lack of assets.

At the end of 2009, 18,421 companies were in various stages of bankruptcy proceedings, 8,950 companies were in main insolvency proceedings, 4,890 were in secondary proceeding, 4543 in bankruptcy and 38 in legal restructuring.

“Romania will continue to lag behind other countries in economic recovery, the first-quarter bankruptcies reflecting the weakness and hardships Romanian companies are facing. The poor management of public finances and the threat of tax hike will continue to plague both the economy and the business environment, the following decisions being crucial for the country’s crawl out recession in 2010 and 2011. And depending on this, the number of bankruptcies will continue to rise, exerting additional pressures on unemployment rate and revenues to state budget”, said Cristian Ionescu (photo), country cluster manager Coface Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia.

The economy’s main growth drivers in 2004 – 2008, trade and construction sectors collapsed in 2009, triggering a 7.1% drop in GDP.