Services, Management, Holding… and Gabem? Exploring company names

Last night, for a bit of fun, we thought we’d have a look in the common words used in company names, using all 8 million-plus companies in the growing OpenCorporates database of companies.

Now, the database is no longer just English-language companies, although they still outnumber the others, but nevertheless it’s English words that dominate. The raw results are here, but it’s nicer to have a look at a Wordle, and for this purpose we’ve excluded words that denote the company type (such as Limited, PLC, Association, ehf, BV, SA, etc).

Maybe, many of the names are no surprise – management, services, consultancy etc. But still, it’s still noteworthy that to see how much bigger each of property, property, developments are than business, transport, financial, media, investment.

But there’s another curiosity in there, just below ‘consulting’: the word ‘gabem’. I initially assumed it was a foreign word for association or something, but a quick search of OpenCorporates brought something much more intriguing:

Companies with sequential numbers in the name are often ‘shell companies‘ but in this case they appear to be former ‘umbrella companies’ (possibly associated with Gabem Management Ltd), a company which seems to specialise in them.

In Gabem’s own words, “An umbrella company is an alternative to being paid PAYE by your client or agency and is equally safe and compliant. You become an employee of the umbrella company and receive all the statutory rights that go with it. In addition working through an umbrella company, you can claim expenses that you incur whilst going about your work. This in turn should improve your take home pay.”

Virtually all of these ‘Gabem number’ companies are dissolved, which is not necessarily strange, as it seems not uncommon for the administrators to rename a company being dissolved or going into administration, and it’s possible something similar is happening here. Still, over 55,000 is a quite a few companies, and you wonder how many active umbrella companies there are.