Webb-site reveals how a UK company registered in HK and then swapped names with another one, which illegally kept the HK registration. That company is now a subsidiary of UK-listed Cobham plc.

One registration, two companies
7 March 2016

As we continue our trawl through UK companies registered in HK, checking them on the open and free UK Companies Registry web site, we found a curious case.

For a PDF of the evidence, click here.

As we noted on Saturday (International Open Data Day), the HK Companies Registry documents and directors site behind a paywall, so it is not easy to check the incorporation number of a non-HK company registered in HK. It is only because the UK registry is open that we were able to discover this switcheroo. Until this is resolved, Webb-site Who's Who has assumed that AXELL WIRELESS LIMITED (Company 2) is the holder of the HK registration, which creates the bizarre appearance that it was registered in HK before it was incorporated in the UK.

A quick search finds that Axell Wireless Limited (Company 2) was bought for GBP85m by UK-listed Cobham plc on 10-May-2013. It was earlier bought by ECI Partners for GBP56m in Jan-2007.

Webb-site asked the HK Companies Registrar whether it is legal to register one non-HK company in HK and then swap it for another one, keeping the same registration, rather like a son taking over his deceased father's passport using the same name. Intuitively it seemed fundamentally wrong, because it would be difficult for counterparties such as banks, customers and suppliers to know which entity they were dealing with. Ivy Poon Man Sze, Deputy Registry Manager (Company Formation & Enforcement), replied on behalf of the Registrar:

Please note that swapping companies with the same Hong Kong registration number is not allowed. According to our record, the Company then known as “AERIAL FACILITIES LIMITED” has not reported to us the swapping of names with another company known as “LAW 2202 LIMITED” registered in the United Kingdom. We are seeking clarification from the Company and following up the matter.

So, if any other overseas companies have performed this double-act, now would be a good time to fess up.

© Webb-site.com, 2016

Organisations in this story

Topics in this story

Sign up for our free newsletter

Recommend Webb-site to a friend

Copyright & disclaimer, Privacy policy

Back to top