If you do any kind of research on foreign companies, it’s imperative to know how the companies are structured. Canadian businesses fall into one of four categories — sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation, or cooperative — and corporations usually carry the designation Inc., Corp., or Ltd.
For foreign companies, there’s an array of other designations and extensions. This page provides a list of these extensions and explains what the terms mean and where they are used. The list also helps narrow your search if you don’t know what country a company is based in.
For international due diligence and investigative research, I’ve found Investigative Dashboard to be a wonderful resource:
Investigative Dashboard (ID) has been developed by the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project (OCCRP), the world’s leading cross border investigative reporting organization. OCCRP designed Investigative Dashboard as a transnational collaborative effort to help journalists and civil society researchers expose organized crime and corruption around the world. It hosts three core tools: a crowd-sourced database of information and documents on persons of interest and their business connections, a worldwide list of online databases and business registries, and a research desk where journalists can go for help in sourcing hard to find information.
The collection of business registries and related databases is terrifically useful.
FreePint, an excellent site for research and information management resources, news, and reviews, runs a regular feature called “My Favourite Tipples,” usually written by a practitioner with expertise in a particular research niche. The latest post is by Neil Smith, a UK investigative researcher, who identifies a few indispensable tools for open source intelligence research and backgrounding individuals. The post, as well as his website, are well worth taking a look at, especially for UK sources.