How to Prepare a Company Overview


Writing a company overview is like taking a snapshot of a business at a specific point in time. This activity is performed in virtually every project: in fact, the business and market overviews generally make up the front sections of any report, after the disclaimer and the executive summary. Your partner or director may also request a couple of overview slides before meeting with the company's management to win new business.


As a junior, preparing company overviews will be one of your main day-to-day activities, in addition to writing up market overviews and searching for comps. However boring you may consider these activities to be, you must conduct them with extra care, as they constitute the foundations of any project: f*cking them up can mean finding yourself in embarrassing situations with your team or, worse, with your client. Sometimes, it may even be hard to recover from them.


Let's look at how to write up and present a proper company overview.

What to Search For

Here's our list of what to include in a company overview:


1. Company Description

  • Year of establishment

  • Headquarters location

  • No. corporate offices/branches (where relevant)

  • Geographical presence (the countries/regions where the company offers its products/services)

  • No. employees

  • For listed companies, year of listing and name of stock exchange(s)

2. Timeline with Relevant Events and Milestones

  • Establishment

  • Launch of new products/services

  • New market entry (new foreign markets, or new business sectors)

  • Acquisition of a competitor, sale of a subsidiary, changes in the shareholding structure, and other M&A-related events

  • Company name change(s)

  • Prizes and acknowledgments (where relevant)

  • Listing (where relevant)

3. Ownership Structure

  • Shareholder names and the % equity stake held in the company by each

4. Group Structure

  • Names of subsidiaries, associates, affiliates, JVs and other related companies, and % effective equity stake held by the parent company in each

5. Business Description

  • Key products/services

  • Key clients

  • Geographical presence

  • Current market share and positioning vs. competitors

6. Key Management and Directors

  • CEO or equivalent

  • CFO or equivalent

  • Chairman

  • Vice Chairman

  • Other members of the leadership team

7. Key financials of the last 3 years

  • Income statement and key ratios

  • Balance sheet and key ratios

  • Cash flow statement and key ratios (for non-financial corporations)

  • Notes on the historical evolution of key items

8. Trading Analysis (if listed)

  • Evolution of the company's stock price and traded volume over the desired period of time (e.g. last 12 months)

  • Rebased evolution of the company's stock price performance vs. the relevant stock market index

Where to Search

Here are the common sources and the main documents to refer to:


1. Company description

  • Corporate website, at the 'About us', 'History', 'Investor relations' and 'Key management' sections

  • Annual and interim financial reports

  • Corporate presentations

  • Stock exchange website

2. Timeline with Relevant Events and Milestones

  • Corporate website, at the 'About us' and 'History' sections

  • Annual and interim financial reports

  • Corporate presentations

  • Official press releases

  • Mergermarket or similar

3 & 4. Ownership & Group Structure

  • Annual and interim financial reports

  • Stock exchange website (for listed companies)

  • Stock market regulatory authority website (generally provides up-to-date shareholdings for listed companies)

5. Business Description

  • Corporate website, at the 'About us' and 'History' sections

  • Annual and interim financial reports

  • Corporate presentations

  • Official press releases

  • Industry research reports

  • Analyst reports

NB: analyst reports are downloadable from Thomson ONE, or from the Bloomberg Terminal through the function 'BRC'

6. Key Management and Directors

  • Corporate website, at the 'Key management' section

  • Annual and interim financial reports

7. Key financials of the last 3 years

  • Annual and interim financial reports

  • Bloomberg Terminal or similar

  • Analyst reports

8. Trading Analysis (if listed)

  • Bloomberg Terminal or similar

  • Stock exchange website

How to Present

Consider the following as a general rule (but feel free to customise as needed):

  • Slide 1: company description, business description, key management, and ownership and group structures

  • Slide 2: company history

  • Slide 3: income statement and notes

  • Slide 4: balance sheet and notes

  • Slide 5: cash flow statement and notes

  • Slide 6: trading analysis.

Here are the most effective ways to present the company information on PowerPoint slides:


1. Company Description

  • Use iconography instead of bullet points to present key company information (e.g. use the icon of a building when talking about the company headquarters, or the icon of a group of people when talking about the number of employees)

2. Timeline with Relevant Events and Milestones

  • Present the company's history using either a vertical or horizontal arrow

  • Only show the relevant years on the arrow

  • Add call-outs with a brief description of key events and highlights above and below the arrow

3. Ownership Structure

  • Present the company's ownership structure as either a pie chart (as shown in our Excel template) or an org chart

  • Show the % equity stakes in the pie's slices or on the org chart's arrows

  • When using a pie chart, use the doughnut chart and add a text box in the empty center to show the total equity as at the reference date (as shown in our Excel template)

4. Group Structure

  • Present the group structure as an org chart

  • Show the % effective equity stakes on the org chart's arrows

  • If the group and ownership structures are straightforward, you may combine the two org charts into one

NB: for dynamic org charts that refresh automatically, download the Excel add-in 'Microsoft Visio Data Visualizer'.

5. Business Description

  • Present key products graphically by using their logos (if allowed by your risk team)

  • Present key clients graphically by using their logos (if allowed by your risk team)

  • Show the location of the company offices/branches using pins on a map

  • Show the ranking of the top 10/20 players by market share using a 2D clustered bar chart, showing the market leader at the top, and adding the cumulative market share in a separate column to the right-hand-side of the chart

6. Key Management and Directors

  • Present the key people in table format (do not include their photographs on your slides, unless the client requests it)

7. Key financials of the last 3 years

  • Present the financial statements of the last 3 years and relevant ratios in table format (as shown in our Excel template)

  • Add brief comments on the historical evolution of key items next to each statement using bullet points or call-outs

8. Trading Analysis (if listed)

  • Use a combo graph (clustered column + line on secondary axis) to present the evolution of the company's stock price and traded volume over the selected period of time (as shown in our Excel template)

  • Use a 2D line graph to present the rebased evolution of the company's stock price performance vs. the relevant stock market index (as shown in our Excel template)

We hope you found this article useful. Make sure to download our Excel template:

B4C_Template_CompanyOverview
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 399KB

The template includes the following tabs:

  • 'KeyInfo' - fill out our tables with the key company data.

  • 'IS', 'BS' and 'CF' - update the tabs with the company's financial statements of the last 3 years. Formula-linked key ratios are included under each statement.

  • 'TradingAnalysis' (for listed companies) - update our tables with the company's share price and traded volume, and the reference index's value over the selected historical period.

Once you have updated the template's input cells, remember to change their fill color from grey to 'No fill' before pasting the tables to PowerPoint.

For clarifications, feel free to reach out. Thanks for reading, and good luck!

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