Shelf companies in Malta. Everything you should know!

Shelf or aged or vintaged companies are entities that have all the proper documentation for trading in Malta but have stopped or never traded for different reasons. Since these companies have are already registered in Malta, they can be sold to foreign investors who do not want to go through the long and rigorous process of setting up a company in Malta for the first time.
Purchasing shelf companies in Malta is legally accessible for anyone who wants a quick entrance into the Maltese markets, both foreign or local investors.
Shelf companies vs. Traditional companies
Apart from the quick and easy incorporation process offered by shelf companies, there are a very few notable differences between a shelf company and a traditional one. Therefore it all comes down to preference in terms of which one you should choose. If you want to hasten the incorporation process and skip the series of steps in traditional registration such as opening a company’s bank account, registering for social participation, applying for permits and licenses, registering the seal among other procedures, a shelf company is your best shot.
Registering a shelf company in Malta
As mentioned earlier, the incorporation process of a shelf company is hassle-free. In summary, the new owner has to sign a contract and a couple of acts. After this procedure, the shares of the company will be transferred to the new owner and from here onwards, the new owner has the right to change the company name or appoint a new director. As a general rule, Maltese shelf companies should come with a registration number, a memorandum of the articles of association, a certificate of incorporation and a registered office.
Why you might want to get a shelf company in Malta

  • A shelf company can set you up for better chances of success when dealing with certain business jurisdictions Bidding on certain contracts requires age and if you get a shelf company with the right age you will be able to bid on certain contracts faster. 
  • A shelf company is a better choice if you intend to apply for financing from a Maltese bank. 
  • Shelf companies are very convenient for foreigners who might not want to go through the rigorous and time-consuming company registration process. Since the company is already registered in Malta, they will only have to draft a new Memorandum and Articles of Association and make with the needed changes. 
  • It takes very less time to incorporate a shelf company in Malta in comparison to incorporating a new company from scratch. However, a shelf company is already registered and the process of changing ownership will only take 1-2 days. 
  • An already established company might present more trust and credibility with suppliers, investors or customers. 
  • If you are trading as a Partnership or sole trader with an already established company, you are more likely to get tax planning benefits. 

Disadvantages of shelf companies 

  • Some shelf companies would require a lot of modifications. If you are incorporating a new company you would set it up exactly as you want it to be. 
  • A shelf company is more expensive than incorporating a new one. 

Professional Assistance
For more insights and a detailed explanation regarding shelf companies in Malta, reach out to SIGTAX.  Our expert team of lawyers, accountants, and consultants is ready to assist you in each step. Our lawyers can provide you with finer details on the legal aspects pertaining to company formation in Malta so that you don’t skip any necessary steps.


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