The changing of a company's name is never an easy task. Especially if the company had been a subsidiary of $47 billion-a-year high-tech company selling thousands of different equipment systems worldwide.
One former unit of the giant Hewlett-Packard Co. with offices in Russia has just completed that process, switching its name to Agilent Technologies as of Nov. 1.
Hewlett-Packard this spring announced a restructuring plan that envisioned the spin-off of its measurement and components unit into a new company. It unveiled the Agilent name July 28.
Agilent, although much smaller than HP, is a major worldwide corporation itself, with yearly sales of about $8 billion. It is based in California and has 43,000 employees in 48 countries. Officials like to point out that Agilent's line of work was HP's initial business before it began specializing in computers.
To manage the name change worldwide, Hewlett-Packard hired a consulting firm that specializes in developing corporate identities. The quest for the new name involved some 40 people around the world, working for four months under strict secrecy.
The name change also required a lot of work for the Russian office, its representatives said. But here, it involved more than just brainstorming.
"I never thought that a change in the company name required so much paperwork," said Galina Smirnova, general director of Agilent Technologies' sales office in Russia. "Sometimes I spent one-third of the work day just signing legal documents. And I did not have time to read all of them.
"The hardest problems [in Russia] were of a legal nature," she said. "To change the name of the company and the brand name in Russia means you have to get all new licenses, allowances, certificates."
Worldwide, the company sells more than 5,000 different types of measurement equipment and 1,000 types of medical equipment under its brand name.
Registering a name change in Russia also meant the delay of some contracts. For example, the postponement of a $1.5 million contract to install testing equipment for the Russian State Standards Committee - one of the agencies to which Agilent had to apply for new registrations.
The contract was originally scheduled for completion this summer, but was delayed due to the reorganization and now is expected in November or December.
The firm said it has supplied testing equipment and telecommunication components to Rostelecom - Russia's biggest long-distance telecommunications firm - for several years, with contracts varying in value from $1 million to $3 million a year.
Another contract worth $1.5 million a year was signed with Transtelecom, Russia's No. 2 long-distance operator, a project of Russian Railways.
Among government contracts, the company won a $6 million deal to deliver equipment to Federal Security Service (FSB) medical clinics. The contract was supported by a loan guaranteed by German government agency Hermes.
The company said it expects revenue to increase by 10 percent next year, mostly due to growth in the sale of telecommunications equipment. It wouldn't disclose financial figures for the Russian operations.