UK companies with a diamond pedigree
Following a diamond jubilee theme we describe how you might find UK companies that have been publicly listed for 60 years.
This illustrates how it can be difficult to find just the data you want even if you use several databases.
Using FAME we can search for UK companies that are active and listed (quoted on the london stock exchange). To restrict my result set I added a constraint that the companies should have an incorporation date between 21/04/1916 and 21/04/1936. This gave a total of 68 companies. (See previous post How to research UK company data for more on FAME)
The problem with this list is that it includes companies that are currently listed, while I want to find out companies that have been listed since June 1952. Ideally, I would just go to Thomson Reuters Datastream and get the UK companies with a base date (BDATE) around June 1952. Unfortunately, Datastream only has data from December 1964. Its earliest BDATE for UK companies is 30/12/1964 as this is when Datastream starts its coverage of the UK market.
- SAINSBURY (J) [or J Sainsbury PLC in FAME] incorporated 10/Nov/1922 but only listed in 1973
- INVENSYS [Invensys PLC] incorporated 01/Apr/1920 but only listed in 1972
- THORNTONS [Thorntons PLC] incorporated 13/May/1921 but only listed in 1988
To go back further than Dec 1964, I can go to the specialist research database LSDP (London Share Price Database). In fact this only goes back to Jan 1955 – not quite June 1952 but a lot closer than Dec 1964. LSPD does not have a web interface so without programming I have to lookup companies indivdually. (See earlier post Finding UK listed companies – try LSPD)
This highlights the number of long-lived companies that have changed their names, sometimes as a result of mergers.
- ASSOCIATED BRIT.FOODS was originally Allied Bakeries (1955 – 1960)
- REXAM was originally Bowater Corp. (1955 – 1984)
- COOKSON GROUP was originally Goodlass Wall and Lead Industries (1955 – 1967)
- DAILY MAIL ‘A’ is Daily Mail & General Trust (1955 – ) in LSPD
The different names are a reminder that different databases can use slightly different names for the same company. This along with name changes is why company and financial databases use a company identifier (company id) to uniquely identify company information.
To progress further I would have to decide how to handle companies that had merged during their 60+ years as public companies. To use LSPD more I would have to brush up on my programming skills, or I could revise my ambition and decide that going back to 1965 and using Datastream is sufficient.