Factual and Commercial Insolvency Explained | Legal Articles


Need Legal Advice?

No Matter What Your Bind We Can Help You



Legal Articles

Factual and Commercial Insolvency Explained

While in most cases it suffices to refer a party as insolvent where they are unable to pay their liabilities as and when they become due, it becomes necessary at times to distinguish and specify the state of such insolvency especially when it comes to companies. In that case the difference between factual and commercial insolvency becomes an important one.

commercial insolvency

Difference Between Factual and Commercial Insolvency

Factual insolvency is whereby the debtor, due to assets being exceeded by liabilities, is not able to settle debts as they are due. Commercial insolvency on the other hand, is whereby despite the assets exceeding liabilities, the debtor is unable to pay their debts as they are due.

The distinction becomes important to companies because it presents an indication on whether the company may be rescued or not e.g Business Rescue as per Chapter 6 of the Companies Act 71 of 2008.

Nonetheless, a determination must still be made on account of all relevant factors on which option will give a better return to creditors between such interventions as Business Rescue or winding up the business.

In many cases where the business is actually not factually insolvent, Business Rescue may present better returns to creditors than had the business been wound up. Careful analysis therefore needs to be done before the best option is pursued.

Liquidation or winding up is voluntary when the debtor makes a Court application themselves to be liquidated, the debtor must show cause that the declaration is in the best interest of the creditors, and not done to prejudice their claims.

Insolvency Act South Africa

Involuntary surrender is whereby any of the creditors brings an application for the winding up of the debtor and may be brought on factual or commercial insolvency grounds. A creditor may also bring the application if the debtor commits any of the eight acts of insolvency as provided for in Section 8 of the Insolvency Act 24 of 1936 (as amended).

Chapter 14 of the Companies Act 61 of 1973 provides for liquidation of insolvent companies whilst solvent companies are wound up in terms of the new Companies Act of 2008.

Van Deventer & Van Deventer Incorporated – Insolvency Attorneys in South Africa

We assist debtors and creditors alike with regards to insolvency law procedures. Make contact with us and our astute insolvency attorneys will leave you with fond memories of the assistance you receive from our team.



The information contained in this site is provided for informational purposes only, and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. One should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this site without seeking legal or other professional advice. The contents of this site contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address one’s peculiar situation. We disclaim all liability for actions one may take or fail to take based on any content on this site.

Comments are closed for this post, but if you have spotted an error or have additional info that you think should be in this post, feel free to contact us.


Get the latest updates in your email box automatically.