What is illiquidity?

What is illiquidity?
Published on: 2 February 2024

Table of contents

Illiquidity refers to the inability of an entity or individual to convert assets into cash quickly without incurring significant losses. In other words, it is the situation where someone has assets that cannot be easily converted into cash to meet their immediate financing needs. If you are experiencing a lack of liquidity in your business, it is advisable to seek advice from a commercial lawyer.

What happens when there is a lack of liquidity in a company?

When a company experiences a liquidity shortage, it means that it does not have enough cash available to cover its immediate financial obligations, such as paying suppliers, payroll or outstanding debts. This can lead to a number of negative consequences for the company, including:

  1. Inability to meet financial obligations: if the company does not have sufficient cash on hand, it may not be able to pay its suppliers, employees or creditors on time. This can damage the company's reputation and affect its ability to obtain credit in the future.
  2. Affect production or service: if the company does not have enough cash to pay suppliers of raw materials or equipment, it may experience delays in production or even have to temporarily shut down its operations.
  3. Affect investment capacity: if the company does not have enough cash to invest in new business opportunities, it may lose the opportunity to expand or diversify.
  4. Affect the value of the business: if the lack of liquidity is prolonged over time, it may diminish the value of the business and affect its ability to attract investors or business partners.

In general, a lack of liquidity is a serious problem for any business and needs to be addressed quickly and effectively to avoid further negative consequences.

What are the causes of illiquidity?

There are several reasons why an entity or individual may experience illiquidity. One of the main causes is a lack of cash flow. If a company's revenues are not sufficient to cover expenses, it may have difficulty meeting its short-term financial obligations.

Another common cause of a lack of liquidity is a lack of adequate borrowing or financing. If a business or individual does not have access to affordable sources of finance, it may have difficulty meeting its short-term cash needs.

In addition, broader economic problems can also contribute to a lack of liquidity. For example, an economic downturn can make it difficult for businesses to obtain financing and generate enough cash to cover their expenses. Similarly, a volatile financial market can make it difficult for investors to sell assets and raise cash quickly.

Lack of liquidity can have serious consequences for a company or individual. If a company cannot pay its bills on time, it may lose the confidence of its suppliers and customers, which can damage its reputation and long-term growth prospects. If a company or individual cannot meet its financial obligations, it may be subject to foreclosure or bankruptcy.

It is therefore important for businesses and individuals to understand the risks associated with a lack of liquidity and to take steps to manage their cash and access appropriate sources of funding.

Types of illiquidity

There are different types of illiquidity that a company may experience. The main types are described below:

  1. Temporary cash shortage: this occurs when the company has sufficient cash in the long term, but faces a temporary situation where it does not have enough cash to cover its short-term financial obligations. For example, if a company expects a large payment from a customer, but the payment is delayed, it may experience a temporary cash shortage.
  2. Chronic cash shortage: In this case, the company has an ongoing lack of liquidity due to poor financial management, declining sales, high levels of debt or an inefficient cost structure.
  3. Inability to obtain external financing: If a company has a poor credit rating or is unable to obtain external financing due to a weak economy or financial crisis, it may experience a lack of liquidity.
  4. Loss of liquid assets: If a company loses liquid assets, such as cash or investments, it may experience a sudden lack of liquidity.

It is important to note that a lack of liquidity may be a temporary or chronic problem, but in either case it is important for the company to take steps to address the situation and ensure its long-term survival.

A lawyer in less than 24 hours.
Lawyers - 24h A lawyer in less than 24 hours. We defend your interests
"Anywhere in Spain"

With our online appointment system you will have immediate advice without the need for face-to-face visits or travel.

One of our lawyers specialized in your area of interest will contact you to formalize an appointment and make your consultation by video call.

Available platforms

Add new comment

Do you need a lawyer in Madrid, we call you back

Fill in the form and we will call you as soon as possible.

* Required fields