It is well known that the first impression is always important. Hence, having a unique and simplified Company name is always advisable in order for it to catch the targeted audience.

There are times when a Company undergoes a major transformation of its business, the initial Company name is no longer suitable for the latest business. Or, the Company may have been bought or merged with another Company which also requires a change of Company name in order to rebrand it.

Changing a Company or business name may give the exposure a Company needs to attract new customers. The process may not be as difficult, but it can be tedious as a change of Company name must be informed to multiple government agencies such as the Inland Revenue Board (LHDN) and bankers. This is so all official documents and letters will reflect the latest Company name.

Why should a Company change its name?

There are many reasons why a Company should undergo a change of its name. For example, if the Company wishes to enter a new market or rebrand its products, changing the name to align with the industry and products offering can be beneficial.

Many companies find it necessary to change the Company name in order to accelerate their chance of success. It is also to avoid from brand confusion or when targeted audience mistaken the Company product with its competitor with a similar name, acronym or logo.

Some other reasons why a Company should change its name are:

A change of management and shareholders

Shareholders are the actual owners of a Company/business, and they have the right to appoint the management team to oversee the Company day-to-day operation. A case scenario where the biggest shareholder decided to merge the Company with another Company in order to sustain its business in the long run, it normally comes with a rebranding of their products as well as revision of the Company business plan as a whole.

To ensure the targeted audience is reached, then it is advisable for the Company to also change its name to grow simultaneously with the product itself.

The Company product suffers from brand confusion

It is common for this type of scenario to occur especially within the F&B industry. For example, customers who loves to eat burgers tend to mistake those from McDonald’s and Burger King. Hence, the result of very unique menu from both of these franchises. Everyone now knows that Big Mac definitely comes from McDonald’s while a Whopper is of course a product of Burger King.

This type of issue can be problematic for a Company when their product has indeed reached its targeted audience but sadly, the audience confused the brand to their competitor resulting for them to grow more compared to you. Hence, a change of Company name is definitely a must in order to outshine your competitor.

The legacy Company name no longer works

It is common practice for a Company especially those from professional services firms register their name after their founder. Common examples in Malaysia are, Yuen Tang & Co., Menara Tun H. S. Lee, Syarikat Ban Lee and many more.

However, by maintaining the legacy name can actually cause a problem when the founders have left or long since deceased. Some might think that maintaining the Company name equal to maintaining the long-standing relationship with its clients. However, as time goes by, those clients may be taken over by new management team which may have wished to cut off ties with your Company.

Hence, it is good for a Company to start rebranding their name if it poses benefits in the long run.

The Company name is too generic or mediocre

As mentioned above, a Company name should be unique and different as it can be a distinguishing factor to attract target audience. If the Company name is too generic and unmemorable, then it is as good as time to let it go and start planning for a new catchy name.

The brand name should be something that makes the Company stands out compared to its competitor.

The Pros and Cons of changing a Company name

A great business name is always catchy and unique. It is great if a Company decided to change its name if the goal of the business has changed, however, there might be some disadvantages that affects with the name changing.

The advantages a Company have once it changes its name are:

The new name can be more aligned with the brand or product

There are cases where entrepreneur is unsure of which product or industry, they will 100% indulge with after incorporating a Company. The proposed name is mainly for practical purposes only.

However, as business grow, it can be practical for the owner to ensure the Company name will boost their brand in the long run. If not, then changing it to aligned with the product is definitely a good way to go.

Able to target different demographic with the new, fresh name

It is common for businesses to undergo a phase of identity crisis over the course of its lifespan. When this happens, most Company tend to choose rebranding themselves.

A Company may initially target a specific audience when they first embark in the business journey. However, with time, the product may be unintended to be more famous amongst those who were not the Company’s target market. By renaming the Company, it allows to not only redefine its identity but also to expand its target audience and customer base.

As mentioned above, by changing the Company name can also raise some disadvantageous along the way. These disadvantages include:

A new name can be confusing to existing customers

We have a lot of examples we can choose from. The latest example is the rebranding of Tesco Hypermarket to Lotus Hypermarket. The name Tesco is still mostly used compared to the new name, Lotus. It takes time and energy to build an empire as well as reputation of a business. Once the name is easily recognised by the customer base, by changing it may confuse the existing customers and indirectly undo the progress the Company has achieved.

Hence, a Company that undergoes rebranding should have expected some losses of its existing customer.

It can be difficult to rename the Company using its old name

Renaming a Company can be costly and time consuming as it requires the marketing team to advertise the rebranding process in order to reach its target audience. However, not all rebranding is a success. Hence, if the Company is still at its early stage, it is highly advisable to ensure changing the name is the right move for the business in the long run. This is because once a decision is made, it is almost impossible to turn it around and the damage towards the Company’s reputation may be hard to repair.

Procedure to change a Company name

In order for a Malaysian-registered Company to change its name, the procedure to reserve the proposed name is similar to when the Company was initially incorporated. It must be submitted to Companies Commission of Malaysia – Suruhanjaya Syarikat Malaysia (SSM) via online application called MyCoid by the appointed Company Secretary.

  • The Company’s representative must inform the appointed Company Secretary of the plan to change the Company name
  • Directors NRIC / Passports are needed the Company Secretary to proceed with the new proposed name reservation application
  • Proposed name must have a definition

    Examples:

    1. ABC Ice Cream Sdn. Bhd. – A – Apple, B – Banana, C – Cherry Ice Cream Sdn. Bhd.
    2. Oishii Sushi Sdn. Bhd. – Oishii means delicious in Japanese
    3. Ramu Pharma Sdn. Bhd. – Ramu is the name of the director in the Company (a consent letter will be required for this type of proposed name)
    4. Paul Hype Page Sdn. Bhd. – Paul Hype Page is similar name to sister Company in Singapore (a consent letter will be required for this type of proposed name)
    5. Petronas Sdn. Bhd. – Petronas is a trademark name (a consent letter from owner is needed for this type of proposed name)
  • Nature of business in general
  • The appointed Company Secretary is responsible to lodge the new proposed name via online application with SSM at cost of MYR 50
  • It will take 1 to 3 working days for SSM to update the application status
  • Once SSM approved, the Company Secretary will then prepare the special resolutions for board of directors of the company to sign off
  • The Company Secretary has 30 days (from date proposed name is approved) to submit the required documents over SSM counter
  • Based on the Company Act 2016, the special resolutions can be signed only by the Board of Directors to conclude the approval of the change of Company name. However, if a Company adopts a constitution, they are required to prepare resolution and conduct Extraordinary General Meeting (EGM) in accordance with its Memorandum & Articles of Association
  • Once done, the appointed Company Secretary must submit the Special Resolution, Section 27 (1) (4) and Section 28 over SSM counter to complete the application with a cost of MYR 100
  • A notice of Change of Name will be issued within 1 to 3 working days by SSM upon compliance with the procedures and submissions of duly completed documents

Once the new name is approved, the Company is required to display the previous name TOGETHER with the new name in any Company related documents for the next 12 months (starting from when the new name was approved).

Post approval of the new Company name

Once the new Company name is approved by SSM, the Company Secretary should furnish you the documents below:

  • Section 27(1)(4) – Application and reservation for availability of names

  • Section 28 – Application for change of name

  • Section 17 – Certificate of Incorporation on Change of Company Name

  • Letter of approval mailed by SSM to confirm the change of name is successful

  • Latest Company profile, indicating the new name as well as the previous name

These documents are crucial for any Company official matters such as:

  • Company banker must be informed of the new Company name to update in their system
  • General licenses must be updated with the new Company name
  • Employees Provident Fund (EPF) profile must be updated with the new Company name via online in their official website
  • Social Security Organisation (SOCSO) profile must be updated with the new Company name via online in their official website
  • Inland Revenue Board – Lembaga Hasil Dalam Negeri (LHDN) profile must be updated with the new Company name via online in their official website

Looking to incorporate a company in Malaysia or need a corporate secretary to help with your name change? We’re here to help – contact us today for a free consultation!

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FAQs

Can a name change be overruled?2020-04-28T17:11:29+08:00

There are certain laws which govern company names in Malaysia. In some instances, the change of a company’s names may lead to one of these laws to become violated. Therefore, in such a scenario, the proper course of action to be taken by the authorities is that of overruling the name change. 

Can Malaysian COmpanies have names in languages besides those spoken in Malaysia?2020-04-28T17:11:02+08:00

In Malaysia, the primary languages spoken are Malay and English. However, this does not mean that all company names in Malaysia must either be in Malay or English. Companies in Malaysia may have a name in any language. However, company names which are in neither Malay nor English are to specify the meaning of the company name in either or both of the two languages.

Can Foreign-owned Companies Operating in Malaysia change their name?2020-04-28T17:10:21+08:00

At the moment, there are no laws which forbid foreign-owned companies in Malaysia from changing their name. All legislation related to name changes applies to local and foreign companies alike. Therefore, foreign-owned companies operating in Malaysian are allowed to change their name.

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2 Discussions

  1. Joanne November 24, 2020 at 5:51 pm - Reply

    Can a Company after acquiring all the shares in another company change the latter’s name to be the same as the former? Eg. Company A acquired all the shares in Company B and change Company B’s name to Company A?

    • Tiwi November 25, 2020 at 5:02 pm

      Hi,
      As the 100% shareholder of Company B, you can request officers of Company B (e.g. Directors) to make changes to Company B’s name. As 100% shareholder, you have full ownership but officially, only directors can act as agents of the company.

      Please be informed that name will be assessed by the governing authority before the changes are approved.

      Please contact us via Paul Hype Page to discuss further.
      Thanks

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