New figures show a 3% increase in the number of business failures for 2012 compared to 2011.

According to the latest insolvency figures from, a total of 1,684 businesses went under in 2012 compared to 1,638 in 2011.

Construction continued to be the hardest hit sector and it accounted for 25% of total insolvencies in 2012, including the Maplewood and Robert Butler companies.

However, there was a 1.4% year on year decrease with 415 construction insolvencies in 2012 compared to 421 in 2011.

The manufacturing industry saw a big increase in the level of corporate insolvencies, as they rose by 26% from 103 in 2011 to 130 in 2012.

But the motor and transport industries both saw a decrease in the number of business failures - with a 47% and 34% decrease respectively.

There were high profile cases in both sectors, including the Bill Cullen Motor Group and Target Express.

The retail sector accounted for 13% of businesses going bust during the year, today's figures show reveal. Dublin department store Clery's was placed into receivership in September, while its sister company Guiney's on Talbot Street was liquidated.

The hospitality sector saw a 16% drop in business failures from 204 in 2011 to 171 in 2012. Some high profile cases noted this year were Ashford Castle in Mayo, Radisson Blu in Athlone and Galway's Glenlo Abbey.

2012 also saw a shift in the type of insolvency companies are facing, with an increase in both examinerships and receiverships and a fall in the number of creditor voluntary liquidations and court liquidations. High profile businesses who entered the examinership process during the year included Eircom, Atlantic Homecare, Cappoquin Poultry and the Ritz Carlton Powerscourt.

''The increase in examinerships would indicate a move towards restructuring of companies instead of company closures,'' commented Ken Fennell, a partner of Kavanghfennell, the firm who compiles the data.

Examinership activity rose from 16 cases in both 2010 and 2011 to 27 in 2012 - almost a 70% increase. Kavanaghfennell said the increase in examinership activity looks set to continue with the recent Government announcement to allow small private companies to apply directly to the Circuit Court to have an examiner appointed.

Today's figures also show that the number of liquidations made during the year fell by 6% to 1,258 from 1,338. High profile cases included the Treasury Holdings Group, the McSweeney Pharmacy Group and the Irish arm of JJB Sports.

Ken Fennell said he did not see the new Personal Insolvency Bill having a major impact on corporate insolvencies in 2013 as the main beneficiaries of this legislation will be individuals and not corporate entities.

''We would expect corporate insolvencies to show a small reduction during 2013, which is good news after five years of increasing numbers. We would also anticipate significant numbers of examinerships during 2013,'' he added.