Decoding the Corporate Identification Number of a Company

What is Corporate Identification Number (CIN)?

Corporate Identification Number (CIN) is a 21 digits alpha-numeric code that is assigned by the Registrar of Companies (ROC) to the companies registered in India. CIN is allotted to companies while issuing their Certificate of Incorporation.

every company must mention this unique CIN in the forms to be submitted to the Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA), particularly in audits and reports.

Breaking down Corporate Identification Number

The 21-digits CIN represents and provides information about the company. The CIN can be broken down into six sections. In the above example, the CIN can be broken down as follows:

Let’s discuss a hypothetical example:

Let’s assume that CIN of a company is


Section-1: The first character – L

Section-2: The next five digits – 76589

Section-3: The next two letters – MH

Section-4: The next four digits – 2009

Section-5: The next three characters – PLC

Section-6: The last six digits – 095768

Each section provides the following information:

  • Section-1: Consists of the first character of CIN that reveals whether a company is “Listed” or “Unlisted” on a recognised stock exchange. In case a company is listed, the CIN would start with the letter ‘L’ and in case a company is not listed it would start with the letter ‘U’.

  • Section-2: Consists of the five numeric digits that categorizes the economic activity of a company or to which industry the company belongs to. This classification is based on the nature of the economic activities which would be carried out by such an establishment. The Ministry of Corporate Affairs (MCA) has allotted a number to every category or industry.

  • Section-3: Consists of two letters that denote the Indian state where the company is registered. For instance, MH is for Maharashtra, TN is for Tamil Nadu, DL is for Delhi, etc. It works in a similar fashion as the car registration number.

  • Section-4: Consists of the next set of four numeric digits that signifies the year of incorporation of a company.

  • Section-5: Consists of three letters that denote the company classification. These three letters help to identify whether a company is a private limited company or a public limited company. If the CIN number here is PTC, it would mean that such a company is a Private Limited Company or if it’s PLC, it would imply that such company is a Public Limited Company

  • Section-6: Consists of the six numeric digits that denote the unique registration number provided by the respective Registrar of Companies (ROC).

Abbreviations in CIN number

The abbreviations used in the Section-5 of the CIN are as follows:

  • FLC: Financial Lease Company as Public Limited
  • FTC: Subsidiary of a Foreign Company as Private Limited Company
  • GAP: General Association Public
  • GAT: General Association Private
  • GOI: Companies owned by the Government of India
  • NPL: Not-for-Profit License Company (Section 8 Company)
  • OPC: One Person Company
  • PLC: Public Limited Company
  • PTC: Private Limited Company
  • SGC: Companies owned by State Government
  • ULL: Public Limited Company with Unlimited Liability
  • ULT: Private Company with Unlimited Liability

Usage of CIN number

CIN number is used for tracking all the aspects of a registered company from its date of incorporation from the ROC.

This unique number/code is mainly used during audits and presenting reports or any form submission to MCA.

CIN is required to be printed on the company’s official publications, invoices, e-form on MCA’s website, letterheads, memos, notices, and bills.

This number can also be used for tracking and identifying companies for information-related purposes which are already with the ROC or MCA.

Penalty for Non-Compliance

If the above-mentioned requirements are not adhered to, the company and every officer in default shall be subject to penalty of Rs. 1000/day of default subject to a maximum penalty of Rs. 1 lakh.

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