GBRDirect – search the European Business Register

If you want to check the credentials of a company then the first port of call has to be the official company register of the country in which the company is based. Many of the registers are on the web and allow you to search and view some of the information free of charge.  (See my own list at Also Company registration around the world and Worldwide registries). This approach does not always yield results and often proves to be more difficult than anticipated. It assumes that the company or organisation is required or has volunteered to register, which is not always the case. For example, in the UK, sole traders do not have to register and therefore will not be found at Companies House. Then there is the problem of navigating a company registry web site that may be in a language other than your own. Even if you manage to work your way through the navigation and search options you will usually find that the data is in the local language. And this all assumes that you know where the company is based; if you don’t you have to trawl through possible registries one by one.

There are many services that provide you with easy search options and access to translated official company information but these can be expensive, and there are occasions when you need to see the original registration documents and filings. One partial solution for Europe is the European Business Register ( This is a network of many of the European company registers offering a “one-stop-shop” for company information. Access to the register is via “partners” – you can identify the partner for your country at For the UK and Ireland the partner is the Global Business Register ( or GBRDirect.

Currently GBRDirect connects to the national corporate registries in:

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece,Ireland, Jersey, Italy, Latvia, Luxembourg, Republic of Macedonia, Netherlands, Norway, Serbia, Spain, Slovenia, Sweden, Ukraine, United Kingdom.

In order to use GBRDirect you first have to register and also “top-up” your account using a debit or credit card. All documents are priced and so is a successful search, which costs £1.50. You are not charged for a list of results but as soon as you click on an entry in the list your search is deemed to be successful and you are charged for it. Once on the ‘company’ screen, available documents and their prices are listed. 

GBR Direct Company Documents Screen

Prices vary depending on the type of document you wish to view and the country. A price list and the type of documents available for each country can be found at

As well as a company search you can also carry out a search for company officials in Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Sweden and the UK.

On the plus side this service enables you to quickly search many of the European registers through a single interface. On the down side you still have to know the country in which the company is based and the documents will be in the local language. You may also end up paying for information that is available free of charge direct from the national registry and the European Business Register seems to go down with alarming regularity. About half of my searches failed because “The EBR Service is not available at the moment” and I am finding the down time increasingly frustrating. When it works GBRDirect is an excellent way of searching the EBR but you still need to know the location of the individual country registries in case the service is down and you need documents urgently.

4 thoughts on “GBRDirect – search the European Business Register”

  1. Hi Karen,

    Firstly, many thanks for your detailed write-up. We find the feedback we get from valued contributors like yourself immensely valuable when it comes to improving the service we offer. We are very grateful for it.

    Secondly, I acknowledge that there are some issues that appear to be reliability related. The service is new and we are working through these issues as fast as we can. Some are technical, some relate to things such as opening hours, some to description of documents across jurisdictions as they are not standard in many cases. We are essentially dealing with government departments in all the countries we connect to and in some cases (not all I might add) the realisation that Internet customers want access 24x7x365 has not sunk in yet.

    We operate an email support service and if anyone who is trying to use the service is having difficulties they are free to contact us at and we will respond as quickly as we can – usually minutes during business hours. Support is limited to English only currently.

    You referred to the successful search fee. We do not charge any administration, registration or annual maintenance charges. We allow free searching up to the point where the customer decides he has received value i.e. they have found the company they are looking for. The small search fee is primarily to allow for the provision of support and maintenance of our service. To date, our users have understood that to provide a good service costs money. We hope that our assessment of this is correct. If we have, we will certainly look at it.

    In the first half of 2010 we hope to add multilanguage support to the site so users in Europe will be able to search in their own languages. We will be adding an index of all companies in all countries (24 million of them!) connected to the network that will allow for searching across jurisdictions. This will allow, initially, to find a company in a particular country connected to the network. The next step will need to be performed, as it is currently, where you search for the identified company in the country on their Live national register database. But hopefully this will eliminate the need to manually search multiple countries before you find the company you are looking for.

    Thanks again for the feedback and if any of your readers have any difficulties navigating or using the site they should not hesitate to contact us for support as we will help them.

  2. Hi Robert,

    Many thanks for your comments and feedback.

    Regarding “We are essentially dealing with government departments in all the countries we connect to and in some cases (not all I might add) the realisation that Internet customers want access 24×7×365 has not sunk in yet” I think most of us have had experience of this. I see that the Companies House Webcheck service is now available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week but I recall being let down in the past by their ‘opening hours’ in the early hours of the morning when I desperately needed company info before getting the 6 a.m. train to Manchester!

    The index allowing a search across jurisdictions will be very useful, even if it can only identify the countries in which a company is registered. For example, I may have contact details for a company that suggests its main activities are in Denmark but it may in fact also be active and registered in Germany, Italy and the Netherlands. An index would be alert me to alternative registrations that I might need to check. I would not mind having to run separate searches on those countries’ registries; what is important to me is that I am made aware of those other registrations.

    Do keep us updated on developments. If comments to this posting are closed (as they are after 90 days of the date of the original posting) then please do email me.

  3. Last week (Jan 7th, 2010) Global Business Register Ltd., the premier provider of European, official company information, and Infogreffe, the Economic Interest Group which unites the registrars of France’s 135 commercial courts, today announced the signing of a distribution agreement for the provision and distribution of official company information covering over 3.2 million companies registered with the national companies register in France.

    The Agreement was signed by Mr. Dominique Marolleau, Director General of Infogreffe and Mr. Ben Cronin, Chief Executive Officer of Global Business Register Ltd.

    Stay tuned there is more good news to come in the next few weeks.

  4. Hi Robert, many thanks for the update. Anything that makes searching for information on European companies easier is always welcome. Do continue to keep us informed of further developments.

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