The number of business failures will likely rise "substantially" in the coming months as the economic fallout from the Covid-19 bites, the head of the Office of the Director of Corporate Enforcement, Ian Drennan, has said, suggesting its workload will increase too.
Writing in its annual report, Mr Drennan also said the office continues to work on the proposed setting up of the Corporate Enforcement Authority, but it was up to the new Government to decide whether to go ahead with the legislation.
The number of complaints received from the public rose to 254 last year from 247 in 2018, while company auditors had reported 105 companies, including 25 complaints involving company loans to directors.
"Having regard to the impact of the pandemic on the economy, it is, unfortunately, likely that the number of companies becoming insolvent over the coming months is set to increase substantially," Mr Drennan said.
"In reviewing the associated liquidators’ reports, the ODCE will, as is always the case, have regard to all relevant facts and circumstances in assessing company directors’ behaviour in the run-up to insolvency," he said.
The ODCE said it recognised company directors would "inevitably" face difficulties in meeting legal requirements such as holding shareholder meetings during the Covid-19 crisis.
It highlighted some of its work last year, including matters involving Independent News and Media and the former charity Console.