Brazil has 4 million delinquent companies; more than half of the 7.9 million businesses in operation in the country, according to Serasa Experian’s criteria: the companies considered to be in operation are registered in the Revenue Office’s database last year and listed as active.

Brazilian delinquent companies owe US$ 24.31 billion (R$ 92 billion), according to Serasa’s data from August.

It is the largest amount since July last year, when there were 3.5 million delinquent companies that failed to pay US$ 21.14 billion (R$ 80 billion).

On average, these debts are overdue by 30 days and they are listed on Serasa Experian, the largest credit database in the country.

The defaulters owe banks, have passed bad checks, have protested bonds or face lawsuits for not paying suppliers or employees.

There are also companies that went into receivership (in this case the company asks for a new deadline to negotiate with creditors).

With the increase in interest rates, credit constraint and drop in sales, these companies face more difficulties to keep bills on time.

Economists and businessmen say they believe the default rate will remain high for companies and individuals.

“With the drop in sales and high interest rates there will be no change in this scenario,” says Marcel Solimeo, from the Commercial Association of Sao Paulo.