The green shoots of recovery are still very fragile, according to financial consultancy Begbie Traynor’s latest “Red Flag” statistics.

Its figures show that 6,820 manufacturing companies experienced a “significant” or “critical” financial distress in the first quarter of 2010 – up 12% on the previous quarter (6,111).

Although recent data indicate that the manufacturing sector as a whole is faring better, Begbies Traynor partner Nick Hood warns that the recovery phase “poses special problems for those manufacturing businesses seeing much-welcomed growth as the struggle to access the extra working capital they will need to fund their expansion”.

“We urge manufacturing companies experiencing financial problems to keep costs and cash flow tightly under control during this vulnerable period,” he said.