What is the difference between using ‘limited’ and ‘ltd’ with your company name?

In terms of legal structure, there is no difference between the terms “Limited” and “Ltd.” Both terms indicate that a company is a private limited company, which is a trading structure in the UK that has limited liability.

‘Limited’ or ‘Ltd’ – what is the difference?

“Limited” is the full word, while “Ltd” is an abbreviation. The choice of using “Limited” or “Ltd” in a company’s name is purely a matter of personal preference or convention. Some companies choose to use “Limited” for a more formal or traditional image, while others prefer “Ltd” for brevity and simplicity.

It is worth noting that there are some naming rules and restrictions when it comes to choosing a company name. For example, the name cannot be too similar to an existing company name, it cannot be offensive or include certain restricted words, and it must indicate the legal structure of the company, such as “Limited” or “Ltd.”

Overall, the choice of using “Limited” or “Ltd” in a company’s name is a personal preference, and either option is acceptable as long as it complies with the naming rules and restrictions.

The requirement to have the name ‘limited’ or ‘ltd’ after a company’s name is contained in Section 59 of the Companies Act.

Interestingly, Companies House always records and displays company names in CAPITAL LETTERS.

What about Welsh companies?

The legal structure and requirements for Welsh companies are generally the same as for companies registered in the rest of the UK. This means that Welsh companies can choose to use either “Limited” or “Ltd” in their company name, based on their preference and the naming rules and restrictions that apply.

However, there is an additional option for Welsh companies to use the Welsh language version of the legal structure identifier. The Welsh language version of “Limited” is “Cyfyngedig,” while the Welsh version of “Ltd” is “Cyf.” Welsh companies may choose to use these terms in their company name to reflect their Welsh identity or to appeal to Welsh-speaking customers.

Can you remove the ‘limited’ or ‘ltd’ suffices from your company name?

In certain circumstances, you may be able to apply to Companies House to remove the suffix, but typically only in a limited number of scenarios, such as:

  • The company is limited by guarantee (not shares) with certain distinct attributes, such as a ‘not for profit distribution’ clause in its Articles of Association.
  • The objects of the company must also be the promotion of commerce, art, science, education, religion, charity or any profession, and anything incidental or conducive to any of those objects.
  • You may also apply for an exemption if the company is a charity.

The full details of this potential exemption are contained in Section 60 of the Companies Act.

Are ‘limited’ and ‘ltd’ interchangeable?

Legally speaking, you can only use the term ‘LIMITED’ if you have registered your company with that suffix, although you would still be able to shorten it to ‘LTD’. However, you shouldn’t use the term ‘LIMITED’ if you originally registered the shorter ‘LTD’ suffix.

Practically speaking, however, both terms are used interchangeably.

Only on official paperwork and applications might there be a problem if you substitute one for the other.

Can you officially change from ‘limited’ to ‘ltd’ or vice versa?

If a company wants to change its name and switch from using “Limited” to “Ltd” (or vice versa), it must follow the normal process for changing a company name.

This process generally involves obtaining the approval of the company’s directors, passing a resolution to change the name, and updating the company’s records with Companies House.

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