Swedish hotel and restaurant bankruptcies soar as pandemic hits

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Record numbers of hotels and restaurants went bankrupt in March in Sweden as customers stayed at home to avoid spreading the coronavirus, figures from credit information firm UC showed on Wednesday.

Bankruptcies in the restaurant and hotel sector shot up 123% in March compared with the previous year, with the transport sector also seeing a big jump, up 105%.

“In the next stage, this is going to hit banks and real estate firms which will have to negotiate debt write-downs with these firms,” Richard Damberg, economist at UC said in a statement.

“If we look forward, suppliers to the car industry are also going to have an increasingly tough time.”

UC said that 78 businesses in the hotel and restaurant sector went bust in March, up from 35 last year. In the transport sector, there were 43 bankruptcies against 21 in March 2019.

Reporting by Simon Johnson; editing by Niklas Pollard