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Company Formation Portugal



Buy a Shelf Company in Portugal

Updated on Tuesday 03rd May 2022

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A 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.

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:
how can i buy a shelf company in portugal1.png

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.

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

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.
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. 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.
6. 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.
7. 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.
8. 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.
9. 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.
10. 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.

Meet us in Lisbon


Call us now at +351 21 020 0969  to set up an appointment with Federico Richardson, the head of Lexidy Law Boutique SLP. Alternatively you can incorporate your company without traveling to Portugal. As our client, you will beneficiate from the joint expertize of local lawyers and international consultants. Furthermore we offer you the following:

- cost-efficiency: competitive company formation prices;

- prompt response to your inquiry (maxim 24 hours);

- free and complete legal information featured on our site, at your disposal.

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The team from CompanyFormationPortugal.com is very qualified and benefits from extensive expertise in this area. I would definitely recommend them to any entrepreneur decided to start his own business here.

Mihai Cuc, Partner of
Enescu&Cuc; Law Firm

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