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.
- On 26-Feb-1999, a UK company then known as "AERIAL FACILITIES LIMITED" was registered in HK with number F0009488. It's UK number was 00995926 (Company 1).
- On 25-Jul-2000, a company called "LAW 2202 LIMITED" was incorporated in the UK, number 04042808 (Company 2).
- On 14-Aug-2000, Company 1 and Company 2 swapped names.
- On 5-Mar-2002, Company 1 was dissolved. This was not recorded in HK.
- On 3-Mar-2008, Company 2 changed its name from "AERIAL FACILITIES LIMITED" to "AXELL WIRELESS LIMITED". This name change was eventually recorded in HK on 7-Jun-2012, over 4 years later.
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.
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:
So, if any other overseas companies have performed this double-act, now would be a good time to fess up.
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