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Red Tape Reduction – Company Names

As of last month industrial enterprises considering the choice of name for companies, LLPs and businesses can take advantage of new relaxed rules. The Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business Names (Sensitive Words and Expressions) Regulations 2014 has tweaked the previous regime on company names by reducing the list of “sensitive” words which require approval from the Secretary of State for use.

In particular, words including “National”, “International”, “European”, “Group”, “Holding” and “United Kingdom” are now deemed acceptable for use without requiring prior approval. Whilst not radical, manufacturers should bare the developments in mind.

Previously, companies looking to adopt “Holding” in its name would have to seek permission from Companies House and provide evidence that it holds over 50% of a subsidiary’s shares. The changes ease this administrative requirement and could particularly assist manufacturers who are seeking to hive down and re-name a related company. Additionally, if manufacturers are looking to adopt new business identities or rearrange group structures, the permitted words could be worth considering when adopting a name for a new corporate vehicle.

In addition, the Company, Limited Liability Partnership and Business (Names and Trading) Regulations 2015 have also just came into force. These relax certain trading requirements and further reduce the administrative burden when choosing company names. The headline changes include:

  • Extending the list of characters, such as accents and symbols, which can be used in a company name (which may be of particular relevance for overseas owned UK subsidiaries).
  • Removing words such as “export”, “imports”, “group”, “holdings”, “international” and “services” from the list of words which are to be disregarded when  determining whether a proposed company name is the “same as” that of an existing company (for instance, an application to register a new company as ‘Tooling International Limited’ would now not be rejected by virtue of an existing company named ‘Tooling Limited’).
  • Reducing the red tape on trading disclosures in circumstances where six companies operate from or are registered at one office, place or location. The previous requirement to display the details of all companies at the location no longer applies; information now need only be held and made available on request.  

Given that these developments streamline some of the administrative requirements on companies, manufacturers should take note of the changes, especially when looking to expand or restructure its business.

If you are unsure of the changes made by the regulations, or would like advice in respect of company administration or corporate restructuring, DWF have specific expertise in this area in its Corporate team.

For expert advice, please contact Mark Gibson

This information is intended as a general discussion surrounding the topics covered and is for guidance purposes only. It does not constitute legal advice and should not be regarded as a substitute for taking legal advice. DWF is not responsible for any activity undertaken based on this information.

Mark Gibson

Partner - Head of Corporate (Birmingham)

I am Partner and Head of Corporate for the firm’s Birmingham office.