Interesting things you find comparing gazettes across Europe & beyond

In November we announced that we’ll be launching OpenGazettes.com in April 2016, making it possible to search multi-jurisdiction data in a machine-readable format. Since then we’ve done two #FlashHacks and Data dives to pull apart what makes gazettes interesting, and different across European jurisdictions. 

There are millions of companies in Europe, and much of this information about companies ends up in the form of gazettes.  Gazettes are a real challenge to navigate, identify and access any reusable information about companies let alone make connections between the various legal entities depicted in the notices.  What makes them particularly difficult is that they are largely unstructured but this treasure trove of data can shed important light onto critical corporate events such as liquidation and mergers.

While the work goes on to launch OpenGazettes.com in April, the OpenCorporates community have found gazettes across Europe and beyond – here are some of the fun, and interesting things we found:

  • We found gazettes online for Turks and Caicos, Lebanon, Antigua and Barbuda, British Virgin Islands, Bahrain and Singapore!
  • We found many jurisdictions have an Extraordinary Gazette, which has a different location for files than Ordinary Gazette. We speculated for quite a bit about what this meant. One difference between Extraordinary and Regular for Caymans seems to be that ‘Notice To Creditor From Liquidator’ notices only seem to show up in Extraordinary gazettes. For other jurisdictions, it was that the announcements were made out of ordinary work hours or weekends. For India, extraordinary had government appointments and announcements, where as other gazettes had more company information.
  • Gazettes notices often have the name of the secretary of the company and solicitors which could be interesting to mine to identify common ‘deal makers’ between big corporations.
  • Companies incorporates in British Virgin Islands must disclose to where a business is moving to another jurisdiction, when they. See example below:
    Screen Shot 2016-02-25 at 19.20.45
  • Some gazettes have fixed styling which makes us think there is a set template they follow but others are a bit more free. Here’s an example of a set template from Cayman Islands:
    20160128_202554
  • Most gazettes in Europe are published as PDFs but more are turning to open data like UK and France.
  • In some countries the gazette notices are in multiple languages – in Belgium and Luxembourg gazettes are in French, German and Dutch, sometimes with all three languages in a single notice!

 

This is just the beginning! We’re excited about finding out more interesting tidbits over the course of the next few months. If you find this interesting and want to join us for a data exploration, join our slack and meetup group.

You can also sign up to be a beta tester for OpenGazettes here: http://opengazettes.com/

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