Finding UK listed companies – try LSPD
If you are looking for an active company (one currently listed on the London Stock Exchange) then your only problem is getting the name right. For example Royal Dutch Shell rather than just Shell. If you can find a SEDOL or ISIN code for the company you can use this to double-check.
Looking for a dead /inactive company, perhaps one that has been taken over in a merger, then things are more tricky.
- Thomson One Banker will not give you data on dead companies (unless it was active recently)
- Datastream will give you data. You need to know the last name of the company, and to remember that the default settings of Datastream Navigator are to only to search for active companies.
- LSPD (London Share Price Database) has details on the name changes of active and inactive UK listed companies, and is therefore a useful resource if you are having problems.
Take the Halifax Building society, which demutualised and floated on the LSE in 1997. If you search for Halifax in Datastream you will have no luck. However, searching the LSPD names file (lspdN.csv) will give a history of the companies name changes.
This extract from lspdN.csv shows that Halifax plc listed in June 1997 (N1 – 61997), changed its name to Halixfax Group plc, then to HBOS plc, and was taken over (N7 – 5) in Jan 2009 (N2 – 12009) by the company with SEDOL 870612 (N8). Searching lspdN.csv, or Datastream, will confirm that this is the SEDOL code for Lloyds Banking Group. [ Full details of the columns N1, N2 … are in the LSDP manual. You can also find this information in the LSPD master index file, lspdM.csv. ]