Home > Business Databases, General Business > Finding companies in an industry – industry/sector codes

Finding companies in an industry – industry/sector codes

Industry or sector codes are a useful resource for identifying the companies in an industry. SIC (Standard Industry Codes) are the most common, but SIC does come in US and UK variants so some care is needed. In addition, companies have a primary SIC code (their largest area of business) and other secondary SIC codes.

Below is a FAME screenshot looking for UK supermarkets – the UK SIC code 5211 is used by most except Asda which uses 5227. (Since the search is on all SIC codes it picks up companies you would not normally classify as supermarkets.)

FAME retail search

FAME retail search – click to enlarge

Alternative approaches –

Market research reports can be an excellent resource for identifying the key companies in an industry, e.g. for UK supermarkets, Keynote has the Supermarkets 2010 Business Ratio Report.

Share/stock classifications such as the ICB (Industry Classification Benchmark) and the GICS (General Industry Classification Scheme) are used to classify companies from the perspective of investors. For the ICB, supermarkets are in Sector 5330 (Food and Drug Retailers) – remember that this will only identify quoted companies so UK companies in this sector will not include Asda which is a subsidiary of the US co Wal-Mart.

Overall, if you want to identify quoted companies based on their investment sector this is fairly straightforward.  If you want to identify companies based on their operations, industry codes are a good start but you probably want to cross-check using other resources.

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