SMALL and medium-sized enterprises in the retail sector are paying their bills more expediently, from 63 days at the end of 2013 to just 42 days at the end of 2014, according to DP SME Commercial Credit Bureau.
There has also been a dramatic reduction in the percentage of retail companies with severely delinquent debts, from 41 per cent to 19 per cent. Severely delinquent debts are bills which are unpaid 90 days after they have fallen due.
Meanwhile, payment speed in the shipping/marine sector slowed by nine days in the fourth quarter to 63 days. While this is a rather steep decline, the payment speeds in the industry have now returned to where they were for all of 2013, following two quarters (Q2 2014 and Q3 2014) of relatively fast payment.
Overall, the days turned cash national average - a tool for measuring the number of days a company takes to pay its creditor - increased from 39 days at the end of 2013 to 42 days at the end of last year.
The construction sector saw the largest increase, from 32 days to 45 days.