Late payment getting worse among big firms

3 July 2002
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04 July 2002

Large European firms increasingly pay their suppliers late, according to a study published just weeks before an EC directive to tackle the problem comes into force.

In a study of six European countries, business information specialist Dun & Bradstreet found that large companies in the Netherlands were the slowest payers in 2001. French firms showed the biggest deteriration in payment times.

UK businesses were the second fastest payers, with 41.9 per cent of large firms still paying late, compared with about a third of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). German companies paid quickest.

The EC directive 2000/35/EC, which aims to harmonise national approaches to late payment, comes into effect on 8 August.

The UK is extending its 1998 late payment legislation, which currently allows only SMEs to claim interest on all invoices unpaid after 30 days, to all private and public-sector bodies.


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