(Bloomberg) --

More than a fifth of British businesses aren’t confident they can weather a looming recession, according to a study published by wealth management, accounting and consulting firm Evelyn Partners. 

Almost half of the firms recognize there’s a likelihood they could face bankruptcy or insolvency in the coming months with 15% saying that such an outcome looks highly likely, according to research of 501 UK business owners with revenue in excess of £5 million ($5.6 million). 

Soaring inflation, rising borrowing costs and a weaker pound continue to pile pressure on British companies. UK firms now have the highest level of distress among corporates in major European economies, according to a report published this week by law firm Weil Gotshal & Manges.

M&A activity has also taken a hit in the current economic climate. One-in-five business owners have already postponed or pulled out of M&A activity, while a further 48% are thinking about doing so, according to the Evelyn Partners report published Thursday.

Meanwhile, a quarter of business owners have already refinanced their debt, while a further 43% are considering doing so, the survey showed.

Evelyn Partners said research of the business owners was conducted by Censuswide from Sept. 9 to Sept. 14.

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