One in two French companies (49.3%) pays their bills by the hour, a ratio comparable to that of Europe (49.9%) said Tuesday the biannual study Altares, but the big delays (more than 30 days) are increasing, as in the rest of the Union. Thus, the proportion of French good payers "is at its highest ever," says Altares, but delays of more than 30 days have increased from 5.7% to 7.6% in one year.
In particular, "the situation is tightening strongly among SMEs and VSEs": during the 1st half, companies with 10 to 49 employees remained within 11.5 days of delay, but those with 50 to 200 employees extended their delays by more than one day (12.4 days in the second quarter against 11.2 in Q2 2022). For VSEs, it is the opposite: structures with more than 3 employees remain around 11.5 days while the smallest go back to 12.2 days in the 2nd quarter. Mid-caps (mid-cap companies) and large companies with more than 1000,16 employees "do not confirm" the improvement initiated last year: the deadlines reduced to 5.2022 days in the summer of 18 are now around <> days.
Companies in the three regions of the Atlantic coast (Brittany, Pays de la Loire, Nouvelle Aquitaine) have average delays of less than 10 days. These delays are 12.7 days in Hauts-de-France and Provence-Alpes-Côte-d'Azur, 13.4 days in Corsica. Île-de-France is "well above the national average," with 17.4 days. Businesses in other regions are 10 to 12 days late on average. The study also notes that in Europe, "the ceiling of thirteen days of delay" on average is "difficult to break".
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Same trend in Europe
Altares distinguishes between 'good pupils', such as the Netherlands and Germany, with average delays of 4.1 days and 6.2 days respectively, and Belgium, which nevertheless has a highest proportion of laggards (6.4%) for two years. Latin countries are "lagging behind", says the study, with an average delay of 24 days in the second quarter in Portugal where more than 15% of companies have delays of more than 30 days.
For Thierry Millon, director of studies at Altares, "European companies are trying to resist headwinds" and "a divide is widening between more companies to keep their contractual commitments and others more numerous also to postpone their payments by more than a month".