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Appendix A - List of public and private limited companies in each Member State


1. Can an SE register under any name that it chooses?

There are some restrictions on the choice of name, which are similar to the controls applied to other companies registered in the UK.

Company type designators

The name of an SE must be preceded or followed by the abbreviation SE.

Use of the term ‘SE’ at the beginning or end of the name designates that it is a European Company. It must be in the exact form, SE, as required by Article 11(1) of the Regulation. It will not be acceptable to use, for example, S.E. or se or (SE) as the designator at the beginning or end of the name, although all these would be acceptable if they appeared within the name (i.e. not as the company type designator).

Other company type designators cannot be used by an SE. This means that an SE may not include anywhere in its name any of the following:

"limited", "unlimited", "public limited company", their Welsh equivalents or any abbreviation of those words or expressions;
"investment company with variable capital" or "open-ended investment company" or their Welsh equivalents;
"limited liability partnership" or its Welsh equivalent.
‘Same as’ names

As with other companies, an SE cannot register with a name which is the same as a name already on the Index of company names kept by Companies House. However, see question 3 below for an SE transferring its place of registration to the UK.

If a proposed name and an existing company name differ only by a few minor elements which the law requires us to disregard, it is the ‘same as’. Examples of what we would disregard are:

Name endings such as "limited", "unlimited" "public limited company"
(including their abbreviations);
The designator ‘SE’ where it precedes or follows the name of an SE company will be disregarded but ‘SE’ used elsewhere in the name will not.
Words and expressions such as "biz", "co", "co uk", "", "com",
"company", "UK", "United Kingdom", "ales", "Cymru", "net", "GB", "Great Britain", "", "services", "international" ;
Plurals, "s" at the end of a word and blank spaces between words, characters or expressions;
punctuation including a full stop, comma, colon, semi colon, hyphen, apostrophe, exclamation or question mark;
permitted characters "*", "=", "#", "%" and "+" if they are used as one of the first three characters in a name;
Words, characters and expressions which sound and mean the same such as "and" and "&", "plus" and "+", "1" and "one", "6" and "six", "€" and "euro", "$" and "dollar", "%" and "percent", "@" and "at",
An example of how we would apply the ‘same as’ rule and reject applications to register ‘Overseas Company (UK) Limited’, ‘Overseas UK Company Limited’, ‘Overseas International Limited’ or Overseas Company .com Limited if there was a company named 'Overseas Company Limited' already registered.

The ‘same as’ rules are included in ‘The Company and Business Names (Miscellaneous Provisions) Regulations 2009 (SI2009/1085) which we strongly advise you to read before you apply to register your chosen name.

Are there any exceptions to the "same as" rules?

Yes. We will register a 'same as’ name if the new company and the existing company will be part of the same group provided the existing company gives its consent to the other company adopting the "same as " name. The application for the proposed name must include a copy of a statement in which the existing company consents to the other company adopting the proposed name and confirms it will be part of the same group

Offensive names

The proposed name of an SE may be refused if it is offensive or if its use would be a criminal offence.

Sensitive words

Some names need the approval of the Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills before they can be registered. These are names that suggest a connection with Her Majesty’s Government, a devolved administration, a local authority or a specified public authority and names that include words or expressions that have been prescribed by regulations and require approval. These are called ‘sensitive words’ and a full list is available at Further information can also be found in our ‘Incorporation and names’ (GP1) guide.

2. Are there other considerations when choosing the name of an SE?

Although the name of an SE may be sufficiently distinctive to allow it to be registered, the name may be so alike an existing company name that it may cause confusion between the two and result in an objection being made by the older company. This is called “too like” and if an objection is upheld the Secretary of State may direct the company to change its name.

When considering whether one company name is ‘too like’ an existing company name Companies House only considers the visible appearance or sound of the two names. We do not take into account external factors such as geographic location, trading activities or share ownership nor do we take account of a name or part of a name that is a registered trade mark.

Normally, if the names differ by only a few characters or minor differences they are likely to be ‘too like’. If the names differ by one or more longer, descriptive words, they are unlikely to be ‘too like'.

Objections on grounds of ‘too like’ can be made within 12 months of a company’s registration, so to avoid the possibility of having to change your name after registration you are advised to check the Index of company names on our website {insert webcheck link} or, if you are uncertain, to contact Companies House. Details of how you can contact us are shown on page 13.

Please note, when deciding on whether a name is ‘too like’ we will only consider the full corporate names of the companies.

or more information on directions to change company names, see chapter 5 of our ‘Incorporation and names’ guide (GP1).

3. When an SE transfers its place of registration to the UK, do the same restrictions on its name apply?

Every SE’s name will be subject to the rules of the jurisdiction in which it first registered. On transfer to the UK, an SE may choose to retain its existing name or it may choose to change its name. If it wishes to change its name, it will be subject to the UK rules over company names.

4. What effect does the SE designator have on the names of bodies other than SEs?

Bodies other than SEs (that is, companies, firms, and other legal entities registered in the Member State) cannot use the abbreviation SE in their names (including their corporate name or business name) unless they were already using the abbreviation in their name before 8 October 2004. This includes using the abbreviation bracketed as (SE) or with other punctuation marks before or after the abbreviation, for example, .SE. (with full stops before and after the abbreviation). However, other bodies may use other abbreviations such as S.E., se or (S.E.) in their names. They may also use the letters ‘SE’ linked to other letters or words such as ‘Service’ or ‘SE10’ or ‘SSE’ or ‘S East’.