International Company Information

Jeannie Bail


Many of the company resources introduced in Module 3, Company Research, also contain data on international companies. Thus, this section will focus primarily on how to find information on companies incorporated outside Canada.

Despite many multinational or transnational companies having a corporate presence in North America, they are often headquartered elsewhere. Thus, it’s critical to be able to locate business information in foreign jurisdictions where the company is based.

For example, Unilever PLC, whose brands include Dove and Ben & Jerry’s, is a huge transnational holding company that is headquartered in London, United Kingdom, and has subsidiaries (companies that are controlled by a holding company) operating in Canada and the United States. If you want to see how its stock is performing, or obtain its recent filings, you would need to know how to access data for the London Stock Exchange (its primary listing for trading stock shares) and Companies House (where you can find the filings history for public companies).

This module will cover the types of company information you might need to conduct due diligence on a company incorporated outside of North America, and some of the top sources for tracking down. In addition, it will introduce you to foreign government filings systems and how to locate.


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Company Research Refresher

Just to review, below is an overview of the different categories of information available on companies, examples of the types of data you would find for each and resources where you can find. Depending on your information need, you may have to access a variety of sources to get everything required for an assignment, pitch or project. Below are the major different types of company research, as a refresher from Module 3: Company Research.

Company Basics Brief information such as the company name, industry classification code, contact information, names of key C-suite executives, etc.
Company Profiles Company profiles are more substantive than basics and usually contain a detailed company overview, historical and projected financials, stock pricing, ownership structure, company news, access to filings, details of products and operations, comparable or peer companies, family tree, and more.
Detailed Financial Data Publicly-traded companies are required by law to report their financial statements to shareholders in the form of a series of regulated accounting documents e.g., income statement, balance sheet, cash flow, and stock pricing information as well as merger and acquisitions activities. These documents are reported regularly, based on a country’s reporting and filing requirements.
Company Ratios Ratios are an important tool to determine how well a company is performing when compared against its peers. Financial ratios are calculated using the figures provided in a company’s financial statements and can offer insights to lenders and potential investors in order to make decisions.
Analyst Reports Analysts who work for financial firms or brokerage houses produce reports that offer insights into the financial health of public companies. An example would be an analyst’s opinion advising potential investors whether they should buy, hold or sell a particular company stock.
SWOT Analysis Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats (SWOT) is a technique used to strategically evaluate a company through identification of internal and external factors.
Articles & Current News Discover valuable current awareness about a company. Articles may be available on a variety of issues e.g., a company’s marketing strategy, business model, stance on environmental issues or corporate social responsibility (CSR), and legal activity.
Key Competitors Comparable companies in an industry. Can be based on geographic location, market cap, revenues, etc.
Job Search/Interview Preparation Research future employers and ace your interview with knowledge of the company & its history.

Subscription-Based International Company Resources

Listed below are a few of the top subscription-based resources for international company information as identified in the above table. These resources include company overviews, financials, executive and director information, government filings, news and more.

Mergent Online (Public Companies)
Features an International Company Database for active and inactive foreign-based companies. Provides access to financial data, including ratios, for publicly-traded international companies.

The Mergent Online platform is also your gateway to Investext, which provides company, industry, investment and market intelligence reports written by analysts from global investment banks, brokerage houses and independent research organizations.

To search, enter your selected company in the Company Search box and make sure that the International Company (Active) is selected. If you are looking for an international company that is no longer listed, then select International Company (Inactive).

Screenshot of an example search for an international company, Nestle, using the International Company database in Mergent Online.

D&B Hoovers
Contains in-depth profiles on international companies, which include a company description and history, corporate family information, SWOT analysis, contacts, competitors and more. D&B Hoovers features a popular Report Builder so that you can create customized profile reports.

Use the “Search for Companies” box and enter the company name.

Screenshot of an example search in D&B Hoover's on an international company, Toyota, using the main search box.

Covers a wide range of Private Equity (PE), Venture Capital (VC) and startup companies in the global capital market. Also provides access to competitive and market intelligence on a wide range of emerging companies and spaces. Company-issued patents are linked and easily accessible. Strong European and Asian market coverage. Also produces global market reports on VC, PE and Mergers & Acquisitions (M&A), in addition to details on cross-border transactions.

Use the main search box for startup and public company profiles, including patent and M&A data.

To search, navigate to Library > Research Center to locate global market reports.

Company search

Screenshot of an example international company search in PitchBook, Novo Nordisk, and an image of its brief company profile.

Full Company Profile

Screenshot of the full company profile for Novo Nordisk in PitchBook.

Global Market reports

Screenshot of the Global Markets Snapshots reports that are available on a monthly basis in PitchBook.

Business Source Ultimate
Provides access to detailed MarketLine company profiles that include: a company overview, business description & history, key employees, major products & services, SWOT analysis, top competitors and locations and subsidiaries for the world’s largest companies.

To search, enter your selected company in the Company/Entity field. Go to “Limit your results”. Select “Company Report” under “Document Type”.

Screenshot for a company search in Business Source Ultimate, using Accenture as an example. The field "Company Entity" is selected.

Screenshot of the results limited to "company report" as Document Type in Business Source Ultimate.

ABI Inform Complete
Features Company Snapshot reports (Acquisdata) that contain the latest financial announcements, a detailed profile, competitive and industry information for major international companies.

To search, enter the company name in the Company/Organization field and select “Company Profile” under “Document Type”.

Screenshot of an advanced search for L'Oreal, using the company/organization field, and selecting "company profile" as document type.

Free International Company Resources

Company websites: As covered in Module 3, company websites are excellent resources to find information on senior executives, business locations, product lines and more. For public companies, filings and other documents like press releases usually can be found under Investor Relations or Newsroom.

  • Open Corporates The largest open database of companies in the world representing 190+m companies from 140 jurisdictions. Its goal is to make official company public data transparent and available to all.
  • Open Ownership Search by company or owner to discover beneficial ownership and control disclosures (so you know with whom you are doing business) from over 7 million companies in over 200 jurisdictions.
  • Corporate Register Global Corporate Responsibility (CR) Resources. Global online directory of corporate responsibility (CR) reports both current and historical. Contains company-issued CR, sustainability, and environmental documents. Features a CR World Map that visualizes the number of reports issued by organisations annually.

Public Filings

Public company reporting and filing requirements vary by country. Therefore, to know where to look for publicly-available information, it is necessary to pinpoint the country where a foreign company is registered or incorporated, or identify the primary exchange where its stock shares are traded.

Because public companies have legal requirements to disclose corporate information, these documents, or filings, are made available to the public to help investors and other interested parties make informed investment decisions. This is what is known as “forced disclosure”, which is compelled transparency.

Some of the types of information you can find in company documents:

  • Company directors
  • Contact names & positions
  • Audited and unaudited financial statements
  • Assets & liabilities
  • Significant news events like the appointment of new executives or bankruptcy proceedings
  • Prospectus for new public offerings
  • Information related to a merger or acquisition (M&A)

To locate public filings for foreign companies, there are several sources where you can start your search.

  • Overseas Registries – Guidance provided by Companies House in the UK on overseas registries by region. Note that this list is not comprehensive.
  • Karen Blakeman, RBA Information Services > Business information: official company registers. This resource is maintained by a UK-based information professional who has compiled official company registers from around the world, broken down by continent and country.
  • Knowledge guide to international company registration  – Maintained by the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), this is an alphabetized list by country of international company registers, sourced from the print collection of the ICAEW Library and the internet.
  • Companies House – Free UK Government site. Offers access to UK company filing history, including Officer information and a brief company overview.

Note: The Canadian Securities Administrators’ System for Electronic Document Analysis and Retrieval (SEDAR) and the U.S. Securities Exchange Commission’s Electronic Data Gathering, Analysis, and Retrieval (EDGAR) systems are covered in Module 3, Company Research.


If you are looking for intellectual property in the form of patents held by a foreign company, a good place to start your search is the Patents Research Guide.

Below are a few patent databases that are international in scope.

  • Espacenet – Developed by the European Patent Office (EPO), Espacenet offers free access to millions of patent documents from around the world.
  • PatentScope (WIPO) – Provides access to international Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT) applications, as well as to millions of patent documents from national and regional patent offices. “The PCT makes it possible to seek patent protection for an invention simultaneously in a large number of countries by filing a single “international” patent application instead of filing several separate national or regional patent applications. The granting of patents remains under the control of the national or regional patent Offices in what is called the ‘national phase’.” For more information on the process, see the WIPO FAQ.
  • PitchBook  Contains a link to company-filed patents, if available, in the company profile.

Screenshot of where to locate patents in the company profile for Spotify in PitchBook.

Self Check


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Business Information Skills Certificate (BISC): Research Guide Copyright © 2023 by Jeannie Bail is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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