According to PricewaterhouseCoopers'Phoenix Forecast: Bankruptcies and Restructurings 2002, 200 public companies will file for bankruptcy this year.
In 2001, 257 public companies filed for bankruptcy, and the forecast means total bankruptcy filings for 2001 and 2002 will be more than twice the number of filings as the last recession. There were 125 Chapter 11 filings by public companies in 1991, and 91 public-company filings in 1992.
"This period of restructuring differs vastly from the last recession, in terms of both the record number of bankruptcy filings and the factors driving companies to restructure," said report author Carter Pate. "The four-fold increase in corporate debt in the last decade, along with the surge in new issues in the 1997 to 1999 period has led to an unprecedented amount of over-leveraged companies."
Industries with increased bankruptcies expected in 2002 include telecommunications, auto, steel, computer hardware, chemical and retail, the report said.