This pages has links and describes approaches to finding company and industry information. If you don't find what you want using the resources here, be sure to see the Libraries' Company Research and Industry Analysis guides. You might also consider contacting one of our business librarians. Contact information is listed on those two guides.
Publicly traded companies must file reports with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), so it is much easier to find some types of company information (esp. financial) for public companies.
There are some large privately held companies, so don't let size fool you. A couple examples include Cargill, Koch Industries, and Mars Inc. (M&Ms, Pedigree dog food, etc.).
North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) and Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) are numeric codes used to classify industries and are often the basis for data collection, especially by government agencies. NAICS (pronounced "Nakes") replaced SIC in 1997. NAICS and SIC codes can be used to search some business databases and government sources for data and other information. NAICS is hierarchical classification system. For example:
31-33 Manufacturing (Three codes: 31, 32, and 33)
325 Chemical Manufacturing
3251 Basic Chemical Manufacturing
325120 Industrial Gas Manufacturing
The codes range from 2-6 digits.
These resources allow you to search for companies using various parameters (e.g., geographic location, NAICS, company size, etc.). For example, you could use Mergent Intelligent find companies in Texas producing industrial gases (NAICS: 325120) that employ over 100 people. The Directory of Chemical Producers (print) provides information about who produces what, as well as the location of the plant.
Industry, market reports, and reports on individual companies can be found in the databases below. Consider searching by NAICS code, as well as keywords and company name.
In addition to the company website and their annual reports, you can search some of the business databases for company news reported in various trade magazines, newspapers, and other sources.