When you’re ordering a company extract, you have the option of purchasing a current extract or a current & historical extract. Purchasing the current & historical extract costs more, but can provide you with valuable historical information that can help you better understand the company you are looking at.

Reviewing historical company data shows you changes that have taken place over the course of the company’s life which can help flag any unusual activity that you may not otherwise have spotted. It’s always smart to dig deeper and ensure you’re conducting due diligence when you’re planning to work with, invest in or purchase a company.

Here is an outline of some of the historical information you can find on ASIC’s current & historical company extract.

Organisation details

Historical organisation details will include any previous information about the company including prior names, status, company type, etc. It’s always important to check a company’s status to ensure it is registered and has a unique ACN and ABN.

Historical address details

Historical address details will list all previous addresses for registered offices and principal places of business.

Historical charges

Historical charges will include any prior charges against the company from 30 January 2012.

Historical officeholder details

Historical officeholder details will list all people or businesses who have been previously registered as directors, secretaries, external administrators, appointed auditors, and ultimate holding companies. These will appear directly under the currently registered officeholder.

A director is someone who guides and controls the company, and understanding their history can give insight into the stability of the company. For example frequent changes in directors could point to potential internal problems and instability. Expanding your search to gather more background on directors and the other companies they are involved in will give you a better understanding of their business background.

If the company is an ultimate holding company, that means it owns or controls the majority of shares in subsidiaries and is considered a ‘controlling entity’. If this is the case, you should look into its subsidiaries to understand the companies its controlling. If the company is a subsidiary, you should familiarise yourself with the ultimate holding company.

Historical share information

Historical share information will show all changes to the share structure throughout the life of the company including all previous shareholders and or members of the company. Share structure varies based on the type of company. A low share capital doesn’t necessarily mean high risk, but may indicate low investment from members to fund the company.

Members are people who own shares in the company; their names and details will give you insight into who is backing the business.

All of the above historical information can help paint a better picture of a company’s evolution and give a good indication of whether any additional searching or enquiries should be made.