Biggest UK Companies ‘Improving Payment Times’

Large UK companies have started to address their poor payment practices towards suppliers, according to an analysis by Experian.

The credit rating agency (CRA) reports that businesses settled their bills 1.3 days earlier in Q312 compared to the same period in 2011, although they still took an average of 24.88 days beyond agreed terms to pay up.

While large companies are typically the worst culprits, Experian said the difference in late payments between small and large business has come down from 20 days during 2009 to fewer than 12 days, thanks to “improved behaviour” by the biggest companies.

“Late payments have significantly dropped compared to the same time last year and it’s encouraging to see that the gap between payment performance of the biggest and smallest businesses has continued to close,” said Max Firth, managing director of Experian’s business information division. “This is a sign of improved behaviour among larger businesses.” 

Companies in the food retailing industries saw the most significant improvements, although firms in this sector are still paying an average of almost 30 days beyond their contractually agreed terms. While there was an improvement compared to last year, payment times deteriorated slightly in Q312 from the previous quarter.

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