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Fewer companies changing names

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New York--Fewer corporations adopted new names in the first half of 2002, according to the 33rd semi-annual survey of corporate name changes released today by branding consultancy Enterprise IG. The survey reported a decline of 30% from the same period last year, from 1,993 to 1,397. ``This is the most dramatic decrease in name changes that we've seen in the last two decades,” said Scott Lerman, CEO-the Americas for Enterprise IG. He attributed the slowdown to “continuing uncertainty on both local and international fronts.”

The survey indicated a drop in frivolous name changes, as surviving dot-coms recognize the importance of carefully chosen, more appropriate names. Of the companies that did change their name, the survey showed that a number of well-known corporations streamlined their names or selected new ones more in line with their current and future operations. Financial institutions including banks, thrifts, investment houses, brokerages and mutual funds accounted for the largest number of new names, with a total of 647, or 46%.

Among the new names recognized by the survey are Minnesota Mining & Manufacturing officially changing its name to 3M and Morgan Stanley dropping the Dean Witter from its name. Philip Morris adopted Altria Group as the umbrella name for its holdings, although the Philip Morris name will remain with the tobacco company. Deutsche Bank eliminated Alex Brown in favor of Deutsche Bank Securities. And PwC Consulting changed its name to Monday.

--Sean Callahan

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