Management: Finding Company Information

Reference Materials
Other Background (Reference) Materials


When looking for information about a company, the type and amount of information you will find and the sources that you will use to find it will vary according to a number of factors:

In particular, private companies have very few reporting requirements and information about them can be difficult to acquire.  On the other hand, publicly-traded companies are obliged to produce and disseminate reports to provide investors with up-to-date and accurate financial data.  In many cases, subsidiaries of publicly-traded companies will not file separate reports, but will be incorporated into the parent company reports. 

This guide identifies information resources available to you at the U of L that can help you find information about individual companies.

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There are a number of publications that provide directory information about businesses.  Besides business name and address information, directories usually includes an index by Standard Industrial Classification or North American Industrial Classification System which can help you identify companies in particular industries or companies which provide specific products. Some sources also provide additional summary information about the companies listed, such as number of employees, annual sales, officers, etc.

Alberta Business Directory
Reference Collection HF 5072 A4 A63
Provides directory information on businesses operating in Alberta, by city and by industry.  It also provides a list of major employers and manufacturers by city and product.

Blue Book of Canadian Business
Reference HC 112 B6
This source provides short listings on some 2400 of the largest businesses operating in Canada including Canadian operations of companies with headquarters outside Canada.  It also provides in-depth profiles of a selection of significant businesses in Canada.

Canadian Key Business Directory
Reference Collection HF 3223 C24
Produced by Dun & Bradstreet, this directory contains listings of Canadian businesses with at least $5 million dollars in sales, 50 employees at a single location or 250 total employees. It includes a geographic index and a line of business index.

Canadian Trade Index
Available online through FPInfomart, this directory provides listings for Canada's largest manufacturers, some 23,000 entries.

Hoover's Company Records
This online source provides information on more than 40,000 public and non-public companies and 225,000 key executives.

Hoover's Handbook of American Business
Reference Collection HG 4057 A28618
This 5-volume set provides summary information about American companies and profiles of worldwide corporations, of major U.S. private companies, and U.S. emerging companies.

International Directory of Company Histories
Reference Collection HD 2721 I57
Intended to provide information about the historical development of the world's most important companies, this multi-volume set covers companies with at least $25 million in annual sales and which are leading influences in their industries or geographic locations. The directory is compiled from publicly accessible information and material provided by the companies.

Plunkett's Industry Almanacs
We have Plunkett's industry almanacs covering various industries.  Each of these almanacs provides information about the leading companies in the industry worldwide.

Scott's Western Industrial
Reference Collection HC 117 W47 S36
The directory includes over 21,600 companies operating in Western Canada (Manitoba - B.C.). It includes a geographic listing by province/city and a line of business listing by NAICS code.

Small Business Profiles
Government Documents Collection CA1 CS 61-015 2000.
This cd-rom presents financial information and employment data on small business in Canada. 

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Reference Materials

Investment services provide major reference sources for finding company information.  While these sources are targeted at investors, they provide detailed information about companies that can be useful in other situations.

This service provides financial and other corporate information about Canadian publicly-traded companies. Data are available on over 1400 Canadian companies.

Mergent Online
Formerly Moody's, this service offers access to in-depth data on 15,000 U.S. public companies (active and inactive) listed on the NYSE, AMEX and NASDAQ exchanges; plus descriptions, histories and financial statements for companies that were acquired, went bankrupt, liquidated or merged out of existence from 1996 onward. There is also data on 20,000 non-U.S. companies (active and inactive) and financial information for non-U.S. companies that have merged, were acquired, went bankrupt, liquidated or disappeared from 1995 onward. Coverage includes history, joint ventures, subsidiaries, officers and directors, bond ratings, dividend payments, financial statements, etc.

MarketLine Business Information Center
MarketLine, produced by Reuters, profiles over 50,000 companies worldwide providing company overviews, business descriptions, company history, executive listings, product listings, locations, news and commentary.

Companies trading their stock on Canadian exchanges must file reports with the Canadian Securities Administrators.  This source provides access to these filings.

Companies trading in the States must file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission.  EDGAR filings are also available through Mergent Online.

Standard & Poor's NetAdvantage
Provide overviews and analyses of major U.S. industries, updated every 6 months. These reports cover industry trends, developments and forecasts, major players and market share data, key ratios and statistics, comparative company analysis, general industry operations and other information.

Damodaran Online

A pretty amazing resource compiled by a prof at NYU which allows you to search for individual company ratios, create financial spreadsheets from templates, and much, much more. There's a ton of information here but it's not presented in the most user-friendly way so you may have to do some digging, but it's likely there.

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Other Background (Reference) Materials

You can find information about a company on the company website.  You can find company websites using your preferred Internet Search Engine and searching for the company name.  Annual reports and other financial reports are usually found under Investor Relations.  Remember that the information you find on a company website is providing the company's view of the world.

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The business press is a source of information on companies.  Articles appearing in business magazines and newspapers are indexed in several periodical indexes, the most important of which are noted below.  In many databases, you can restrict your search to a 'company' or 'org' search field.

CBCA Complete
This source indexes the articles in over 1600 Canadian magazines, journals, newsletters, corporate reports and newspapers.  You can limit your search using Company name to zero in on articles about a particular company.  It includes links to the full-text of many of the articles indexed.

Canadian Newsstand

Provides full-text access to approximately 200 Canadian news sources.  The Globe and Mail is indexed from 1977 to the present.  The search engine allows you to search by date so you can limit the results to the most recent news articles about a company.


This source indexes articles in nearly 3000 (over 2000 full-text) worldwide business periodicals, including the Wall Street Journal. You can limit your search to a specific company name or NAICS code.   

Business Source Complete
This periodical index allows you to search by product, by company, by NAICS code and description, as well as by subject heading and keyword.

LexisNexis Academic
Access over 6,000 full-text news, business, and legal publications, including deep backfiles and up-to-the-minute stories in national and regional newspapers, wire services, international news, and non-English language sources. Sources include business news journals, company financial information, SEC filings and reports, and industry and market news. Legal information includes U.S. Federal and state case law, codes, regulations, legal news, law reviews, and Shepard's Citations for all U.S. Supreme Court cases back to 1789.

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If you have difficulty finding or using the information you require:

Business FAQs

Developed by business librarians at American universities, this site allows you to search several academic business libraries' sites of frequently asked business reference questions. While some sites may refer you to subscription databases (check to see if we subscribe at the U of L to gain access), lots of general information and links to free sites as well.

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 Maintained by
 Content Revised: July 14, 2011
 Content Created: September 21, 2004

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