March 2020

Commercial Risk Outlook Report – March 2020

The Commercial Risk Outlook Report provides an analysis of the current state of Australian businesses from an insolvency and prognostic perspective based on commercial risk data.

This report analyses industries and regions within Australia where incorporated operating businesses are predicted to face financial distress within the next 12 months. This Report also expands on the drivers behind commercial risk and impacts for business owners, while providing insights from a professional insolvency perspective.

The commercial risk data attempts to predict business financial failure based on the likelihood of adverse events including external administrations, defaults, wind up petitions, Mercantile enquiries, bankruptcies, court writs, default judgements, poor trade payment behaviour and seeking legal relief from creditors.


Key Findings

Nationally, the top 5 industries with businesses at high to severe financial risk (in order of number of businesses) are:

  1. Construction (2449, 3.1%) An increase from 1,192 businesses since March 2019
  2. Accommodation and Food Services (1777, 5.8%) An increase from 1,084 businesses since March 2019
  3. Professional, Scientific and Technical Services (1514, 1.4%) An increase from 660 businesses since March 2019
  4. Retail Trade (1417, 2.8%) An increase from 916 businesses since March 2019
  5. Manufacturing (815, 1.7%) An increase from 501 businesses since March 2019


The top five regions throughout Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia with the highest number of total businesses that are most at risk of financial failure within the next 12 months:

  1. Melbourne – Inner – 869 (1.9%)
  2. Sydney City and Inner South – 725 (2.0%)
  3. Parramatta – 679 (3.7%)
  4. Gold Coast – 568 (3.1%)
  5. NSW Inner South West – 563 (3.9%)


In terms of size of business, nationally there are 7 businesses in the $1 billion or more turnover category facing immediate financial distress. However, 2854 businesses (22%) fall within the less than $1 million to $10 million turnover categories. This indicates that the majority of businesses that are at high to severe risk are small to medium businesses across Australia.


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