Company failures are on the rise again as insolvency figures across the board are up compared with last year, according to data compiled by Exaro. As George Osborne, chancellor, celebrated improved economic indicators in his budget speech last week, the Exaro Insolvency Index highlights a more troubling picture for UK business. Increasing numbers of companies filed one or more insolvency notices.
Business / DEFENCE
Italian prosecutors have agreed a ‘plea bargain’ with a middleman who they accused of bribing Indian officials to help Britain secure a huge helicopter contract.
Pressure on AgustaWestland, the British helicopter maker, over the corruption allegations has increased as an Italian judge approved the plea bargain. Ministers in Britain also face even more questions over the affair.
One of the UK’s key diplomats who helped AgustaWestland win a huge helicopter contract with India went on to run the company’s arm in Delhi. Exaro can reveal the “revolving-door” case as Michael Fallon, business minister, was forced to confirm to Parliament the former diplomat’s role in the AgustaWestland deal. India cancelled the contract in January amid allegations of bribery.
UK officials helped an Anglo-Italian contractor clinch a huge helicopter deal with India that has become embroiled in bribery allegations, Exaro can reveal. The civil servants were from UK Trade & Investment Defence & Security Organisation (UKTI DSO), the government agency that promotes British exports. The disclosure undermines efforts by David Cameron, prime minister, to distance the UK from the allegations.
Information and communication companies are suffering a rising number of insolvencies, according to analysis by Exaro. By contrast, transportation and storage companies are seeing falls across all types of insolvency. The latest figures from the Exaro Insolvency Index mark the varying fortunes for different sectors as the UK economy sees a slight upturn in company failures, after months of decreases.
Margaret Thatcher’s government pressed India to buy a fleet of Westland helicopters despite knowing that the model had “mechanical problems”, newly-released documents show. Her private secretary received a warning that the helicopter, the W30, did not even have air-worthiness certificates because of the faults. And ministers were advised that the economic case for using aid for the deal was “marginal”.
Law firms are suffering an increased level of insolvencies, according to data gathered by Exaro. And a leading financial advisor is warning them that they face acute financial pressures in the year to come. The figures show an increase in all types of insolvency among solicitors’ firms in the quarter to December compared with the same period in 2012.
Company failures are rising in Northern Ireland while the rest of the UK continues on its road to economic recovery, analysis by Exaro reveals. All types of insolvency were up in the region in the quarter to December compared with the same period in 2012. By contrast, the UK as a whole is seeing falls in insolvency numbers.
Former defence secretary Geoff Hoon is set to be called as a witness in a trial in Italy over bribery allegations in the arms industry. Hoon is on a list of witnesses who are due to be called in the case to help deny bribery charges against two senior former colleagues at a defence group where he took an executive job nearly three years ago. He is expected to be asked to testify on how India procures defence projects.
The Serious Fraud Office is demanding that Exaro takes down from its website documents that were lost by the SFO from its most sensitive case. But Exaro is refusing to comply. The confidential documents were from a huge cache of mislaid files and detail a series of mysterious payments – totalling $21.4 million – that went to Swiss bank accounts of secretive offshore companies.
Exaro’s December analysis of company failures is full of Christmas cheer – with falls in all types of insolvencies. The Exaro Insolvency Index has shown the UK to be on a rocky road to recovery since it detected an upturn for the economy in June. But, for the retail sector, it shows mixed fortunes. Christmas will be crunch time for many retailers.