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Buy a Shelf Company in Portugal

Buy a Shelf Company in Portugal

shelf company is an enterprise which is already registered and functioning in Portugal. The acquisition of such a company is a very popular option that many foreign investors prefer thanks to the many advantages it presents. If you plan to set up a company in Portugal more efficiently, you might want to consider this option. Our team of company formation agents in Portugal can provide comprehensive information about the shelf companies you can purchase in Portugal.

 Quick Facts  
  Legal entities available for shelf company

– limited liability company (LDA),

– public company (SA)

Time required for purchasing the company

A few days

Types of features it includes (corporate bank account, VAT number, etc)

– bank account,

– legal address,

– trading name,

– tax number

The advantages of a shelf company

– rapid purchase & ownership transfer,

– easy access to market,

– no debts,

– credibility

Appointing new directors 


Capital increase allowed


Certificate of no commercial activities


Modify the objects of activity Yes
Participants in the purchase procedure Buyer (or representative) & seller
The cost of buying a shelf company   Depending on age & registration fees

Why choose to buy a shelf company in Portugal?

The main advantage in the acquisition of a shelf company is the fact that you can immediately start your business in Portugal, without the regular waiting for the approvals of Portuguese authorities. Another main advantage is the fact that a shelf company which already has a good business record can increase your credibility on the market that you intend to explore in Portugal. If you want your company formation in Portugal to be safe, you should verify whether the shelf company you intend to buy has a clean record and all the legal obligations attained.

An aged shelf company can also be a true advantage when you need to sign contracts with other companies that limit eligibility to companies with history. A mature shelf company will increase your credibility when you enter bidding contracts. When buying a shelf company, it usually comes with an already functional bank account. This will moreover help you to further beneficiate from better credit options for your business, thus optimizing your actions in the financial sector.

Our team of accountants in Portugal can offer complete services to companies registered in this country. You can benefit from full support for registration for tax payment, payroll, bookkeeping, HR administration and management, and preparation of annual financial statements. Also, those interested can request tax credit planning or retirement plans. We collaborate with the relevant authorities to implement the necessary services in your company.

What does it assume to incorporate a shelf company in Portugal?

What you must decide in the first place is which company to buy, and for this, you must perform an attentive check of the existing options. This is not only a time consuming, but also a risky step on which your company formation in Portugal depends in great measure.

After making a selection of potential shelf companies which might correspond to your specific demands, you can get in contact with one of our specialists in company formation in order to help you establish the terms for the acquisition. Next, it is advisable to check the history of the shelf company, gather the documentation for the transfer of ownership, check the business code and amend it if it is necessary. Our experts can help you determine whether the shelf company is a secure investment. Here is an infographic that explains how you can buy a shelf company in Portugal:


Who can buy a shelf company in Portugal?

Foreign or local entrepreneurs can buy a ready-made company if they are interested in starting a business rapidly without having to consider the registration formalities with the local authorities. However, the business can activate as soon as the ownership is transferred, and the entrepreneur signs the documents in this sense. There is no need to wait for incorporation bureaucracies and you can start the business in a fast manner right after you have received the approval in this sense. Please do not hesitate to talk to our advisors and find out more about the advantages of a shelf company in Portugal.

How can I buy a shelf company in Portugal?

The acquisition of a shelf company in Portugal is quite simple, and in this matter, our company formation agents in Portugal can provide the needed support:

  • you do not need to travel to Portugal to buy a ready-made company, as our consultants can make the necessary arrangements in this sense;
  • copies of your identification documents which need to be notarized are sufficient for the acquisition of a shelf company;
  • the proforma invoice for the ready-made company provided by our team needs to be paid;
  • the next step is signing the company’s documents before the ownership transfer is made.

Our company formation representatives in Portugal can provide you information about the available ready-made companies on the market and about the ways in which you can settle the arrangements for the acquisition of such a company.

Are there any risks when purchasing a ready-made company?

No, there are no risks to consider when buying a shelf company in Portugal because such company has no activities, and therefore no debts. This kind of company is already registered, following the steps of incorporation just like any other company, with respect to the Company Act in Portugal.

However, it is suggested but not mandatory to ask for company due diligence and complete verification of a ready-made company. A company due diligence report may reveal if there are any particular problems with a shelf company, like previous bad management or any kind of debts. Even though it is not the case, you can solicit company due diligence and make sure that your future company is in the right order. Ask our advisors for support and information in this matter.

You can also watch the video presentation we have prepared:

Reasons for buying a ready-made company in Portugal

Portugal is extremely appealing to international investors, therefore, a fast entrance on the market is in most cases the intention of many entrepreneurs. A ready-made company can be the proper solution for those wanting to skip the registration procedures and get ready for business as soon as the documents have been signed and the ownership transferred. It is important to have a business plan before a shelf company is purchased, in order to start the operations rapidly. Not having to wait for specific incorporation formalities is often the important benefit considered by investors from overseas looking for business in this part of Europe.

Differences between traditional companies and shelf companies

The economic stability, the strategic geolocation and the ease of doing business are considered in a large amount by foreign entrepreneurs who would like to establish their operations and develop their portfolios in the Iberian Peninsula. In this direction, an entrepreneur can choose between purchasing a ready-made company and creating a new one from scratch. The main difference between these two is that the first one is already registered and ready to be transferred at any time.

As for the traditional company registration in Portugal, this involves a series of stages like opening a bank account for the minimum share capital, register for tax purposes, applying for licenses and permits, creating the company seal, register for social contributions and many more. In the case of establishing branches or subsidiaries, it is good to know that the registration process might take time compared to the acquisition of a shelf company and that because there are specific requirements in matters of documents.

This is why purchasing a ready-made company can suit best the needs of a foreign entrepreneur who is looking for a fast start on the Portuguese market. We remind that a shelf company is already registered with the entitled authorities, even for tax purposes, in order for the new owner to worry less about the incorporation of business and concentrate more on future investments in the firm. As soon as you decided on the direction of the business, you may proceed with the formalities of buying a shelf company in Portugal

What are the reasons for selling shares of a company in Portugal?

Paying the debts of a company might solicit a significant step in this process, meaning that the owners can consider selling stocks of a Portuguese company. There are many investors who decide on the following reasons for selling shares in the company, such as:

  1. Sometimes, selling shares might be the proper option for charitable donations if it is the case.
  2. The personal assets can be diversified if an investor decides to sell a few shares of the company.
  3. The ownership transfer or succession might start with the sale of shares of a company in Portugal.
  4. If you do not want to develop your business, you can start selling stocks.

What is a partial sale of shares of a company?

A partial sale involves only a portion of the stocks, as decided by the owners of the company in Portugal. The proprietor of the company will have to consider how much they want to sell in order to not transform into a minority investor and not have control in the firm and make decisions. A partial sale of stocks of a company in Portugal can support raising the capital in the firm and even encourage employees in this direction. Moreover, the ownership transition might start with a partial sale of company stocks. Let our company formation agents in Portugal tell you more about how you can sell shares in your company in Portugal. Also, if you would like to open a company in Portugal, feel free to address your inquiries to our team.

What is a complete stocks sale in Portugal?

Selling all shares of a company in Portugal means that the investor decides on ending the participation and the control in such a firm. This is a straightforward process which might be structured in such a way for an entrepreneur to receive annuity payments. This means that you may receive monthly incomes through the annuitization method or choose the life option providing incomes for life. Businessmen might be interested in a specific payment period, choosing to be paid for 10, 15 or 20 years, with the mention that in the case of deceased, the family members receive the payment as established by a contract in this sense.

Deciding on the company share selling option

It is quite important to know what the options are for selling stocks of a company in Portugal, in order to make a business plan in accordance. Here are the main ways through which you can sell shares of a Portuguese company:

  • Going public – a public listing of shares is an expensive option, but a great choice for large companies who want to maximize the value.
  • Selling stocks to private investors – private share sales address to specific type of investors, and it is subject to low costs.
  • Selling stocks to employees – there are many business owners who decide on in-house share sales.
  • Shares for smaller investors – this is a less restrictive method in terms of company rules for selling stocks but complicated in matters of finances.

Selling shares of a Portuguese company is often the decision of foreign investors who want to change the business direction, raise capital in the company or simply looking to retire from a business. All the requirements and procedural formalities can be explained by our team of company formation representatives in Portugal. They can help foreign business persons start companies in Portugal by providing support for entitled authorities.

Asking for support for selling company stocks in Portugal

The lack of experience in business, particularly when deciding on selling company stocks should determine an entrepreneur on asking for support from a specialist. A consultant or a business broker might be the ideal choice for this kind of job, as their purpose is to create and present a solid and real business plan comprising methods through which a company can sell shares. Once the value of the business is determined, an entrepreneur can solicit support for trading stocks on the market. Your consultant can handle the document requirements, can look for a potential buyer and can close a deal in a fast manner and no harsh formalities.

Frequently Asked Questions

Our team of company formation agents in Portugal often receive a series of questions about shelf companies and the reasons why such type of structures are beneficial. We present you with a few of these questions to bear in mind and find out essential information.

Is a shelf company illegal in Portugal?

No, shelf companies are not illegal and can be purchased by anyone interested in starting a business in Portugal without going through the entire formalities. Being an entity already registered, it is in the records of the authorities, even if it has no activities.

Who can buy a vintage company in Portugal?

Both local and foreign entrepreneurs can buy a shelf company in Portugal. There are no restrictions on the country of origin of those who want to set up a business in this form. Our specialists can help you with the formalities of buying a vintage company in Portugal.

How can I purchase a shelf company in Portugal?

The formalities for buying a ready-made company in Portugal are extremely simple. We will only need your ID card so we can prepare the documents for you to sign. As soon as you get in touch with us, we will take care of your requirements.

How fast can I buy a vintage company in Portugal?

As mentioned above, the formalities are simple and can be managed by our team of specialists. So, as soon as you send us a request to purchase a shelf company in Portugal, it can be yours in about 24 hours.

Do I have to travel to Portugal to buy a shelf company?

You do not need to travel to Portugal to purchase a shelf company because this can be solved remotely. All you have to do is give us your personal data, and then we will take care of the rest of the formalities.

When can I use the shelf company in Portugal?

As soon as you sign the ownership transfer documents, the shelf company is ready to use. So, in about 24 hours, your company in Portugal can be active. Don’t forget to talk to our experts and find out all the details involved.

Are there any debts related to a vintage company in Portugal?

You should not worry about the irregularities of a vintage company in Portugal because they do not exist. Such an entity has no financial activities and therefore it has no debts.

Can I ask for company due diligence in Portugal?

Yes, company due diligence can be requested right away if you decide on purchasing a ready-made company in Portugal. This is a simple process that can be explained by one of our company formation agents in Portugal.

Are ready-made companies expensive in Portugal?

Compared to traditional business types, a ready-made company is subject to lower costs. Plus, there is no need to consider the registration formalities, as such aspects are already taken care of by our agents.

Do I need a bank account for a vintage company in Portugal?

Yes, if you want to start a business in Portugal by using a shelf company, a bank account is needed for future financial activities. Deciding on working with us means taking advantage of varied services found at your disposal.

Investing in Portugal

Portugal is a destination appreciated by those who want to make investments and enjoy great profits. The optimal business climate in this country largely dictates the type of activities, foreign entrepreneurs benefiting from an advantageous taxation system, experienced workforce, excellent infrastructure among many others. But in order to better understand why it is advantageous to invest in Portugal, you can discover the following statistics that highlight the economic direction of the country:

  1. The total FDI registered in Portugal in 2019 was approximately USD 162 billion.
  2. Sectors such as tourism and IT offer a multitude of business opportunities and are among the favorites of foreign investors in Portugal.
  3. According to the 2020 Doing Business report, Portugal ranked 39th out of 190 world economies in terms of simple business formalities.
  4. Spain, Luxembourg, the UK, and the Netherlands are among Portugal’s largest investors.

Please do not hesitate to contact us for professional support in the shelf company acquisition procedure. Our clients can benefit from personalized offers when collaborating with our agents.