Companies paid more bills on time in Q4 but performance still worse than a year ago: Singapore credit bureau

SINGAPORE - Companies paid more bills on time in the October through December quarter last year compared with the preceding three months, the Singapore Commercial Credit Bureau said on Tuesday.

However, their payment promptness was still worse compared with a year ago, it noted in a press release.

"While the rebound in last quarter's payment performance is a positive sign, it would be too early to tell if the improvements would sustain in the coming quarters," added Ms Audrey Chia, chief executive officer of D&B Singapore which runs the credit bureau.

About 50 per cent of the payments that companies made in the final three months last year were prompt, the credit bureau said. That was an increase from 46 per cent in the preceding three months.

The portion of payments that were delayed for at least 30 days also fell to 39 per cent in October through December, from 42 per cent in July through September.

In the credit bureau's data, payments can either be prompt, delayed or partial.

However, Ms Chia pointed out that the payment behaviour of local firms has "worsened markedly across all industries" compared with the preceding year, except in the retail sector which got a boost from year-end festive sales.

Overall, the proportion of payments made on time was significantly higher in the last three months of 2013, at 58 per cent. Slow payments also made up a smaller percentage of all transactions in that period, at 33 per cent.

melissat@sph.com.sg