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Foreign Company Research

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Directories     Databases    
Portals        Search Engines     Public Filings

Before You Begin

There are several points to remember when researching foreign companies. The first is that American sources will not necessarily contain as complete information on foreign companies as material produced locally in individual countries. Second, information on non-American companies may be limited for several reasons: the information expectations regarding company information in other countries may not be the same as they are in the US; it may be harder to gather the information, or publications may not be printed with the same frequency as they are in the US.

If a foreign company trades on any of the US exchanges, it will have to file an annual report (20F) with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Also, it may have divisions in the US that are companies in their own right so they will be required to file the same filings as other US public companies. Sometimes these will be on the SEC page and sometimes they won't since 20Fs were not required to be filed electronically.

For more information on researching foreign companies, you may consult the following source:

How to Find Information About Foreign and Global Companies. Washington, DC: Washington Researchers, c1996-.
LC Call Number: HD2771.H69
LC Catalog Record: 96648284

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Doing Company Research

Table of Contents

Scope
Directories
Rankings/Lists
Private Company Research
Public Company Research
Foreign Company Research

Directories

There are many, many print directories published on individual countries by many different publishers, including several publishers that publish multiple products. Searching a local collection by subject may be the easiest way the access them locally. Here are a few LC subject headings that may be used to locate directories in the collections of the Library of Congress:

Industries - Country name - Directories
      for example: Industries - Canada - Directories

Country name - Commerce - Directories
      for example: Argentina - Commerce - Directories

Export - Country name - Directories
      for example: Export - Japan - Directories

Import - Country name - Directories
      for example: Import - France- Directories

Graham & Whiteside/Gale Cengage Learning External Link

Graham & Whiteside directories provide company information on the leading businesses worldwide including "essential facts and contacts, ... executive names, financial information for the previous two years, parent company and associates, agents and trade names." The directories come in several volumes covering various geographic regions.

Major companies of Asia and Australasia.
LC Call Number: HG4244.6.M35
LC Catalog Record: 2007249003

Major Companies of Europe.
LC Call Number: HC241.2.P667
LC Catalog Record: 82645901

Major Companies of the Arab world.
LC Call Number: HF3866.M3
LC Catalog Record: 78643090

Major Companies of East Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
LC Call Number: HF5154.7.A3 M35
LC Catalog Record: sn 97044044

Major Companies of Latin America and the Caribbean
LC Call Number: HG4091.5.Z65 M34
LC Catalog Record: 99111835

Major companies of Africa south of the Sahara
LC Call Number: HF3873 .M35
LC Catalog Record: sn96038185

Dun & Bradstreet External Link

This is a list of what the Library of Congress has in it's collection. Some of the names may have changed. D&B reports are available on foreign companies. However, foreign reports can be double or triple the cost of reports for US companies and still not have the depth of information that is in a report for a US company.

Who Owns Whom. High Wycombe Bucks, [England] : Dun & Bradstreet Ltd.

(various Call Numbers for various geographies: Continental Europe, UK/Ireland, and North/South America, Australasia, Asia, Middle East & Africa)

Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the US. New York, N.Y. : Simon & Schuster, Technical and Reference Book Division, 1969-.
LC Call Number: HG4057.A21943
LC Catalog Record:

This print title is now part of a database offered by the publisher and includes both Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries and Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the US. The online version has many more companies included than do the print titles.

Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries. New York, Uniworld Business Publications, [etc.], 1955/56-.
LC Call Number: HG4538.A1
LC Catalog Record: 55039067

This print title is now part of a database offered by the publisher and includes both Directory of American Firms Operating in Foreign Countries and Directory of Foreign Firms Operating in the US. The online version has many more companies included than do the print titles.

Moody's (Mergent) International Manual. Moody's Investors Service. New York : The Service, c1981-.
LC Call Number: HG4009 .M66
LC Catalog Record: 82641212

Ward's Business Directory of Private and Public Companies in Canada and Mexico. Detroit, MI : Gale, c2003-.
LC Call Number: HF5074.W37
LC Catalog Record: 2002214749

Content from the volume may also be found in the database Business Insights: Global.

F&S Index Europe Annual. Foster City, Calif., U.S.A. : The Company, c1994-.
LC Call Number: Z7165.E8 P73
LC Catalog Record: 94657030

Information Access Company. Also known as Funk and Scott and Predicasts. Goes back to the 1960's.

F&S Index International Annual. Foster City, Calif., U.S.A. : The Company, c1994-.
LC Call Number: Z7164.C81 F13
LC Catalog Record: 94657010

Information Access Company. Also known as Funk and Scott and Predicasts. Goes back to the 1960's.

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Databases

Business Insights: Global (Gale Cengage)

Business Insights: Global contains information from many sources that cover the United States and the world. One of the larger sources for companies outside of the United States, has been Graham & Whiteside which is now part of Gale Cengage. These titles include: Major Companies of Asia and Australasia, Major Companies of Europe, Major Companies of the Arab World, Major Companies of Central and Eastern Europe and the Commonwealth of Independent States, Major Companies of Latin America and the Caribbean, Major companies of Africa south of the Sahara. Also, includes content from Ward's Business Directory of Private and Public Companies in Canada.

ISI Emerging Markets (Internet Securities, Inc.)

Collection of news and financial information for over 65 selected countries in Africa & the Middle East, Central and Eastern Europe, Southeast Europe, Central Asia (Caucasus) and Asia, and Latin America. Content is in the form of articles and reports.

Kompass. External Link

Kompass is a major provider of information geared to Business to Business commerce. Their main web page has some free information but the bulk is accessible only with a subscription though the information they provide is limited due to the nature of the database. They do continue to publish print volumes covering individual countries.

OneSource (InfoUSA)

It contains company profiles on 6 million international companies, including key executives and detailed financial information. This is separate part of the ReferenceUSA product that may not be available to all subscribes of ReferenceUSA.

Portals

Country portals like Yahoo! have finance areas like the Yahoo! US finance External Link area. For example the Yahoo! for the UK/Ireland, External Link Canada, External Link and Australia/New Zealand External Link all have finance sections that allow for company research. Generally, these sites are limited to information on public companies. Not all Yahoo! portals have a finance section but other country-specific portals may have similar types of information will likely vary from country to country and portal to portal.

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Search Engines

Native Language Search Engines

If you have foreign language experience you may want to consider using search engines that were created for those languages like Baidu for Chinese and Yandex for Russian.

Public Filings

If the companies are "public" meaning they issues stock and trade on local exchanges look to the filings they are often required to file. While requirements for filings in countries other than the US are quite different from what companies filing in the US are required to file, there is usually some similarity with financials and descriptions of products, services, and operations being quite common.

Getting the filings for other countries may not be as easy as getting those of public companies in the US. The Canadian Securities Administration External Link make their public filings more accessible to the point of having them in English and French while the UK sources like Corporate Reports External Link or Companies House External Link are subscription based services. Then there is even a service called CAROL External Link which has UK, Asia, and US companies. Access is free of charge, but does required registration for access to annual reports. Check the government authority web page first and then look for any private vendors.

If you are looking for foreign corporations that happen to trade (and file) in the US the SEC filing 20-F is good bet for information.

International Organization of Securities Commissioners (IOSCO). External Link

They have listing of members Ordinary, Associate, and Affiliate (country, province, regional, etc. securities agencies) with contact information and web links under each list. This is not a complete list. Yahoo! directory (under government and then for each country External Link the Administration, Agencies, Ministries, Department, etc.) would be the place to start to find a specific country's regulatory agency or agencies.

Last Updated: 01/10/2013

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  August 8, 2013
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