Business Bankruptcies Rise Again in February

NEW YORK (Reuters) – U.S. business bankruptcies rose again in last month, marking the fifth-straight February that such filings have increased, according to a bankruptcy data provider on Tuesday.

Companies from a range of industries, including video rental chain Movie Gallery Inc (MVGRQ.PK), radio network Air America and luxury ski resort developer East West Resort Development V LP LLLP, were among the 6,557 businesses that filed for relief from creditors in February, according to Automated Access to Court Electronic Records (AACER), a database of U.S. bankruptcy statistics.

“Even if the economy gets better, bankruptcy filings continue at a healthy clip for six to 18 months,” said Mike Bickford, president of AACER. “And it’s not at all clear as to whether we’re really in a recovery.”

On average, 345 businesses filed for bankruptcy each day, up from 336 last year, according to AACER.

Combined, business and personal bankruptcy filings jumped 13 percent from the same period last year.

Companies and individuals filed 6,171 bankruptcies daily, on average. That is the second-highest rate since the 2005 bankruptcy reform act took effect. Only October 2009 had a higher count with some 6,352 bankruptcies filed per day.

“The fact that we exceeded the average daily filings was telling,” said Bickford. “It suggests we’re going to be as least as high as last year.” (Reporting by Chelsea Emery; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)