Malta Shelf Companies

Acquiring existing aged or mature companies in Malta

Admin | 12 Jun 2018

Chetcuti Cauchi Lawyers

Shelf companies in Malta, also referred to as “aged Malta companies” are old Maltese companies that may be dormant for a period of time, leading the shareholders to make it available for takeover by new shareholders.  Malta shelf companies also describe the practice of Malta company services providers of registering a number of companies with no specific client in mind, simply for the eventual acquisition of the “shelf company” by promotors who wish to continue their business in a company with a history.  

Risks of Shelf Companies 

Acquiring a Malta shelf company may be risky for a buyer who assumes he is acquiring a never-used company when in fact, that company may have already been used for other illegitimate reasons, or legitimate activities that may have caused unresolved liabilities which will be taken over by the new shareholders.  Our firm provides appropriate legal and financial due diligence of companies-for-sale to ensure full visibility of legal, financial, and fiscal liabilities and burdens that may exist. 

Our Approach to Shelf Companies

Our firm frowns on “Shelf Company” practice in view of the possible illegal uses of Malta shelf companies and their potential abuse in tax fraud or money laundering. We exercise significant caution in assisting with the acquisition of such existing Malta companies to ensure the good faith of the buyers of such shelf companies and the legitimate reasons for such acquisitions. 

Our Mergers and Acquisitions Practice

Our approach to requests for Malta shelf companies is to match entrepreneurs with companies that may no longer be in use due to retiring founders, marketing changes or changes in market demand. From time to time, the firm’s clients engage the firm to look for buyers for “aged companies” in Malta that have a bona fide track record in business, with a view to taking over their business, company and all.  Over the years, some clients may wish to exit their business, to raise capital or outrightly sell their business for a variety of reasons.  

We actively engage in matching buyers and sellers of active or dormant Malta companies and mediate negotiations, advise on legal and tax implications of transfers, and finally implementing the transfer of the Malta ‘shelf’ company. 

Legitimate uses for Malta shelf companies 

Persons may seek to acquire shelf companies in Malta for a variety of reasons, the most common of which include:  

  • Quick access to an already existing company with a business track-record;
  • Existing commercial relations with suppliers, clients, banks and other vendors;
  • Existing trade licences or other regulatory approvals (though some authorisations require prior regulatory approval of a change in ownership.

Acquiring a Shelf Company vs Registering a new Malta Company

Due Diligence prior to transfer

If your objective is to have a ready-made company already in place, for fast business startup, you may consider our fast Malta company incorporation service which may take as little as 24 hours. Please note that Malta company registration timeframes depend on the availability of required due diligence documentation.  Click here to learn more about Malta Company Formation. 

Shelf companies with existing Bank Accounts

While Malta shelf companies may enjoy existing bank relations, banks require their corporate clients to inform them as soon as there is a change in ownership or other significant changes in the company. 

Malta aged companies with licences or authorisations

Maltese companies having existing licences and authorisations in the banking, emoney, payment services, insurance, investment services, virtual financial assets sectors from the Malta Financial Services Authority will require prior clearance of the MFSA after the submission of appropriate documentation concerning incoming officers and shareholders as well as updated business plans and related documents. Speak to us should you wish us to assist you with the acquisition of an existing Malta financial services company  

For more information on your Malta aged company requirements and for our shelf companies for sale in Malta, please contact us at your convenience. 



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