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					            Keeping Good Company
         Online Information 2011, #online11
        Karen Blakeman, 30th November2011


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Needs for company information

    Unstable economic climate
    Checks on new suppliers, customers, partners
    Home users - is the company installing my double glazing
    sound? Could they go bankrupt before they finish the job?
    Checks on a company director, current and past directorships,
    unusual patterns of company formation
    Why not just Google for companies?
     – information held in databases
     – password protected even if free
     – priced and subscription services

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Company information

• Ownership, structure, accounts, activities, news
• Availability depends on
     – type of company
         • sole trader
         • partnership
         • privately owned
         • limited liability e.g. Ltd, LLP
         • companies with publicly traded shares e.g. PLC
     – business size (large, medium, small)
     – country
         • state or region within the country
• Changes to UK Companies Act (2008)

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Exemptions for UK SMEs

• Exemptions not available to public companies, banking,
  insurance or shipping companies
• Abbreviated balance sheet, P&L not required, turnover not required,
• Must fulfil at least two of the following conditions to qualify

                                              Small    Medium

     Turnover not exceeding                   £6.5m    £25.9m

     Assets/balance sheet not exceeding       £3.26m   £12.9m

     Average number of employees              50       250

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• UK Companies House - Webcheck
     –   http://www.companies-house.gov.uk/
     –   free, subscription, and document pay per view options
     –   documents £1 each
     –   Just viewing the list of documents for sale can be very illuminating!

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Company Check

  • http://companycheck.co.uk/
  • UK companies
  • Uses Companies House data
  • Provides 6 years of figures and graphs for Cash at Bank,
    Net Worth, Total Liabilities and Total Current Liabilities
    free of charge
  • Monitor company for financial changes and when new
    accounts are filed – email alerts (free)
  • Lists directors of a company
        – links through to Company Director Check
        – http://company-director-check.co.uk/index.php
        – can see past and present directorships for a person
  • Part of UKData.com who can also supply credit reports
    and detailed directors reports for a fee
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http://companycheck.co.uk/ (signed in)

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UK County Court Judgments (CCJ)

 • Claims made against an organisation or individual by
   another organisation or individual
       – for example failure to pay an invoice
       – failure to complete work despite having been made
 • Registry Trust - CCJs, court orders & fines
       – http://www.trustonline.org.uk/
 • London Gazette – insolvency data, public notices
       – http://www.london-gazette.co.uk/

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Official company information – other countries
• Lists of official company registers
     – Official Company Registers
             • http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/registers.htm
     – Company registration around the world
             • http://www.commercial-register.sg.ch/home/worldwide.html
     – Companies House Links
             • http://www.companieshouse.gov.uk/links/introduction.shtml#reg
• US – listed companies
     – SEC Edgar IDEA – Interactive Date Electronic Applications
•    Canada - listed companies
     – SEDAR http://www.sedar.com/

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• http://www.opencorporates.com

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European Business Register
• Gateway to official company information in 23 European countries
     – www.ebr.org
• UK distributer is GBRDirect
     – http://www.gbrdirect.co.uk/
• Priced service

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• www.skyminder.com
• Pulls together company information from a variety of sources
  from across the world
• Registration required, free to search but many documents are

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Bureau van Dijk
• http://www.bvdinfo.com/

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Examples of problem areas for the researcher

• Switzerland
     – only banks, insurance companies and companies traded on the
       Swiss stock exchange are required to provide financial
• Cayman Islands
     – “The Registrar of Companies can only release the name and
       type of company, its date of registration, the address of the
       registered office and the company’s status. Disclosing any other
       information is prohibited unless requested by a law enforcement
• British Virgin Islands
     – “A company is not required to file its register of directors, register
       of members, register of charges or an annual return with the BVI
       Registrar of Corporate Affairs.”

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Share prices

• Yahoo Finance (major stock markets only)
     – http://uk.finance.yahoo.com/
• Google finance
     – http://www.google.com/finance
• FT.com – Markets, Equities section
• Go direct to the stock market site
     – RBA Stock Markets and Share Price Information
     – http://www.rba.co.uk/sources/stocks.htm
• Priced services – FT, Reuters, DataStream, Bloomberg

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Yahoo Finance

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Google Finance

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Historical annual reports – SCoRe
• http://www.score.ac.uk/
• SCoRe (Search Company Reports)
• Catalogue of printed company reports, both current and
  historic, held in UK libraries
• Libraries that hold copies of the reports are listed together with the
  earliest and latest years of a collection’s holdings
• A good place to pick up clues on past corporate relationships

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Types of companies & company formations

• CorporateInformation.com - Company Extensions and
  Security Identifiers
     – http://www.corporateinformation.com/Company-Extensions-
• Types of business entity – Wikipedia
     – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Types_of_business_entity
• Company Formation Survey 2011
     – http://www.offshoreinvestment.com/survey11/index2.html
• Doing Business - Measuring Business Regulations - World
  Bank Group
     – http://www.doingbusiness.org/

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•   Companies as well as people (need an account to search within

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Who owns a website?

• http://www.domaintools.com/ good starting point for identifying
  who owns a domain name but....
     – may be hiding behind an agent
     – may be using a service that "protects individual privacy"
     – if in the UK and an individual with a personal page then contact
       details other than name are not publicly available (Data
• Run a Google or Bing search on the ‘registrant’ or agent and
  see if you can find out anything more about them

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•     http://www.silobreaker.com
•     covers free resources: news, blogs, video, images
•     geographical location of stories, people, networks
•     use as a starting point for in depth research

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Contact details


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