Business Information: Latest Reports and Business Shorts
30% of UK businesses classify more than 10% of their debtor books as over 90 days old. Hilton Baird has reported that the results of its Late Payment Survey 2015 indicate that British businesses are currently having to wait longer to be paid by their customers than at any point since the survey began in 2011. On average, invoices are now being paid 22.5 days beyond agreed terms, which represents an annual increase of 0.9 days. As a direct consequence of late payment, businesses were commonly forced to invest more time into chasing invoices (79%), pay suppliers later (48%) and increase borrowing (30%) in 2014. One in ten had to turn away new business. The Survey also found that there was an annual increase in the proportion of businesses classifying more than 10% of their debtor books as over 90 days old – rising from 26% to 30%. To view Hilton Baird's detailed Survey go to

Britain's 100 private companies with the fastest-growing profits are revealed in the annual Sunday Times BDO Profit Track 100. This year's league table features well-known brands such as bicycle manufacturer Brompton Bicycle, travel search engine Skyscanner, biscuit and cake maker Tunnock's, and home accessories retailer The White Company, but Cheshire-based online retailer The Hut Group takes the top spot on the league table for a second year running. Stuart Lisle, partner at BDO, the title sponsor of the league table, commented: "These medium-sized businesses are thriving. Our newly-named 'Brittelstand' has outgrown the German 'Mittelstand' with mid-market businesses in all sectors across the UK seizing the opportunities a growing economy presents. To view BDO's news release with a link to the league table go to

Number of UK SME food suppliers experiencing financial distress rises 120% in 12 months. According to Begbies Traynor's Red Flag Alert research for Q1 2015, while most of the UK’s largest supermarkets are embarking on turnaround strategies in an attempt to claw their way back to financial health, their means of slashing prices and delaying payments is "grinding many food suppliers and smaller high street grocers to the ground." The research also finds that the UK's food retailing industry continues to experience rising ‘Significant’ financial distress, increasing 66% to 4,696 struggling businesses over the past year, with food and beverage manufacturing industry experiencing 94% more instances of ‘Significant’ distress. However, Begbies Traynor warns that it is the SME food suppliers which are really being flattened "by this new savage landscape" as ‘Significant’ distress among this group of businesses has increased by 120% year on year, from 574 SMEs to 1,267. To view Begbies Traynor's news release go to

New scam targets small firms with established finance facilities. After two of its small business clients lost over £100,000 between them, Ashley Business Finance has drawn attention to a scam fraudsters are using to target small firms with established finance facilities. In both cases, the fraudsters met their victims at networking groups and posed as genuine businessmen who had clinched a major order from a big company which they were unable to fulfill themselves and offered a share of the profits in return for help to buy stock. Jonathan Cranston, chairman of Ashley Business Finance, said: "these are highly sophisticated fraudsters who . . . come up with a plausible story and even provide a viable paper trail using the names of real companies and directors who are unaware of what is happening." To view Ashley Business Finance's news release go to

Grant Thornton announces the launch of India Tracker 2015. Developed in collaboration with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) the Tracker, which monitors fast-growth Indian businesses operating in the UK, shows that these businesses combined turnover increased by £3 billion in the last year - up from £19 billion in 2014 to £22 billion in 2015. The fastest-growing Indian companies continue to be fairly evenly spread throughout the UK. They also operate across a variety of sectors, with particular strength in technology and telecoms, pharmaceuticals and chemicals and engineering and manufacturing. Shuchita Sonalika, Director and Head of CII UK, commented: “Indian companies are making tremendous progress in UK, as evidenced by the fact that India invests more in the UK than the rest of the EU combined. To view Grant Thornton's news release go to

The IMF advises that the outlook for advanced economies is improving, while growth in emerging market and developing economies is projected to be lower. The IMF's latest World Economic Outlook (WEO) has advised that global growth in 2014 was a modest 3.4%, reflecting a pickup in growth in advanced economies relative to the previous year and a slowdown in emerging market and developing economies. However despite the slowdown, emerging market and developing economies still accounted for three-fourths of global growth in 2014. Looking ahead, overall global growth is projected to reach 3.5% and 3.8% in 2015 and 2016, respectively, with growth projected to be stronger in 2015 relative to 2014 in advanced economies, but weaker in emerging markets. To view the IMF's latest detailed report go to

UK economy to take political uncertainty in its stride says EY ITEM Club. The UK economy will continue to grow solidly in 2015, despite political uncertainty, thanks to the boost provided by ultra-low inflation and an upturn in the Eurozone recovery, according to the EY ITEM Club’s spring forecast. The added bonus to this favourable outlook, according to the forecast, will come from an increasingly robust recovery in the Eurozone. As a result the EY ITEM Club expects GDP growth to reach 2.8% in 2015 and 3.0% in 2016. To view EY's news release go to

Grant Thornton International Business Report (IBR) finds that optimism amongst UK business leaders fell slightly in the first quarter of the year. This is in contrast to business optimism across the Eurozone economies (especially those hardest hit by the financial crisis) where confidence is moving back up towards pre-crisis levels. Globally, there has been a sharp downturn in optimism in Latin America and Eastern Europe, with business confidence in Latin America and Russia falling to low of 5% and 6% respectively. Scott Barnes, CEO of Grant Thornton UK, commented: "The once-mighty BRIC nations seem to no longer be moving in lockstep, as the Chinese and Indian economies gather steam, the Russian and Brazilian markets seem to be abating." To view Grant Thornton's news release go to

BCC Economic Survey: UK growth continues, but pace slackens in Q1 2015. The British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) latest Quarterly Economic Survey (QES) shows that manufacturing and services firms reported slightly weaker growth for the start of 2015, with a number of key Q1 balances now lower than their pre-recession levels in 2007. John Longworth, Director General of the BCC said: “It is not a huge surprise to see slightly weaker numbers at the start of the year, after a very strong fourth quarter for many firms. . . Our conclusions are by no means a cause for alarm, but they are a salutary reminder that the UK still faces obstacles on the path to sustainable, long-term growth. To read the BCC's news release go to,-but-pace-slackens-in-q1-2015.html.

About this issue's sponsor: HCC International
HCC International is a UK domiciled and regulated ‘AA’ rated specialty insurer. It is a subsidiary of HCC Insurance Holdings, Inc. based in Houston Texas, with group offices across the United States, the United Kingdom, Spain and Ireland. HCC International has successfully developed a book of niche products ranging from Professional Indemnity, Energy, Marine Hull, Credit and Surety through to Film Production and Event Cancellation. HCC’s Credit Division is based in Leicester and provides domestic and export Whole Turnover and Single Risk credit insurance policies to a wide range of industries, with specific expertise in the construction industry, factoring and recruitment. HCC’s offering is focused on excellent customer service and simple product wordings delivered through the specialist broker network.

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