The number of Scottish firms going out of business has fallen to pre-recession levels.
Statistics from professional services firm KPMG show a 30% fall in the number of corporate insolvencies from July to September 2015 compared with the same period in 2014, dropping from 254 to 177.
The figure was also down on the previous quarter to June 2015, when 214 corporate insolvency appointments were made.
Comparing the first nine months of 2015 to the same period in 2014 showed a 14% drop from 733 to 627.
Administrations, which typically affect larger organisations, increased by 27% in July to September, compared to the same period in 2014, up from 15 to 19.
A nine-month comparison shows a 26% increase in administrations, up from 49 to 69.
Liquidations, which tend to affect smaller businesses, decreased by a third in July to September in comparison with the same period in 2014, down from 239 to 158.
Comparing the first nine months of 2015 to the same period of 2014 showed an 18% fall, from 684 to 561.
Blair Nimmo, head of restructuring for KPMG in Scotland, said: “The latest figures reveal a material fall in the number of companies going into insolvency in Scotland over the past quarter compared with the three months prior and the same period the year before.
“We can see similar six and nine-month comparative trends. To put this in a wider context, there are now fewer businesses failing than before the recession and there is no doubt that, for the most part, business confidence is on the rise.
“That being said, we’re reaching a natural levelling-off period which will likely prevail, irrespective of economic conditions, meaning we will continue to see similar numbers of businesses going into liquidation and administration.
“The effects of the recession are still fresh on the minds of most corporates, which is reflected by cautious optimism. Instead of a flood of deals, businesses are focusing on less risky transactional activities.
“From a sector perspective, the low oil price looks like it might be around for a while yet, but it is pleasing to note that most corporates are addressing this through active cost and working capital control, and this is certainly where we are concentrating our efforts with clients.
“We have also recently seen significant problems in the steel sector, albeit it is a little early to forecast the likely outcome and impact across Scotland.”