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U.S. bankruptcies climbed in March, with SVB Financial Group leading the pack

By Steve Gelsi

Corporate bankruptcies are at their highest level since the early months of the pandemic

Propelled by the bankruptcy of Silicon Valley Bank's parent SVB Financial Group and other chapter 11 filings, U.S. corporate bankruptcies jumped in March to the highest level in three years, in a sign of a cooling economy.

S&P Global Market Intelligence reported 71 U.S. bankruptcy filings in March, up from 58 in February and more than double the March 2022 total of 33. It's the highest number since 74 bankruptcies in July of 2020, early in the coronavirus pandemic.

With March included, the first-quarter bankruptcy total came to 183, which is more than any comparable period in the past 12 years, S&P said in a report.

SVB Financial Group's (SIVBQ) March 17 chapter 11 filing, with unsecured claims including $3.3 billion in senior notes, was "the most noteworthy" filing in March, S&P said.

Sinclair Broadcast Group Inc.'s (SBGI) regional sports unit Diamond Sports Group LLC filed plans to reorganize its debt under chapter 11, one of five bankruptcies with $1 billion to $10 billion in assets and liabilities so far this year.

Other major companies to file for bankruptcy-court protection from creditors this year include (PRTYQ), Serta Simmons Bedding LLC and (AVYAQ).

The consumer-discretionary sector currently ranks as the sector with the most bankruptcies so far this year. The financial sector's increase in filings has brought it into a second-place tie with the healthcare sector, with 14 each.

Also read: Banks on the line for deposit flows and margin pressure in Q1 updates as they reel from banking crisis

-Steve Gelsi

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04-11-23 0924ET

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