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A guide to buying ready-made companies in different European countries

businessReady-made companies are legal entities that have been registered, sometimes even years before the purchase, but have had no trading activity. This means that they are properly incorporated as per the country laws but have no debt or liabilities. This can be an important advantage for investors who wish to open a company in a European country and who need a duly incorporated legal structure that can start its business activities faster than a newly incorporated business.


Ready-made companies in Ireland can take one of the following business forms: the private limited company and the public limited company. The private one is further classified into the private company limited by shares, the widely-used LTD, and the designated activity company, the DAC. Most of the shelf companies available for purchase in Ireland will be LTDs because they can be used for numerous business activities and they are easily operated.

A legal team specialized in corporate matters in Ireland can help you with adequate counseling if you are in need of legal aid when purchasing a ready-made company.

The Netherlands

When buying ready-made companies in the Netherlands, investors can choose between the public company (the NV) and the private limited company (BV). The partnership is also a common business form, although less used by foreign investors. Companies that offer shelf company services will typically offer incorporated BVs because they can be used by small or medium businesses.

The Netherlands is a country that has much to offer to investors, in terms of doing business but also in terms of the actual quality of life. Foreign investors who are interested in moving to the Netherlands before or after buying a business here can contact an immigration lawyer in the Netherlands.


The majority of shelf companies in Germany are limited liability companies or GmbHs. Another popular type of business, however best suited to larger businesses, is the joint stock company, or AG, which can also be purchased by investors. When buying a GmbH, investors can greatly reduce the time before they can start the actual business activities. In some cases, the newly acquired company will need to apply for additional permits and licenses.


Many of the ready-made companies in Estonia available to foreign investors are also private limited companies. A condition for a private limited company when more than half of the board members are foreigners (who do not have a permanent residence in Estonia) is to appoint a representative (a contact name and address are submitted to the Commercial Register for correspondence purposes).

Ready-made companies are also available for purchase in other countries. Investors in Asia can buy shelf companies in Thailand and shorten the amount of time needed to incorporate a legal entity. At the same time, they can make sure that the new company observes the provisions of the Foreign Business Act when they make the ownership transfer.

Ready-made companies are a convenient manner of entering the European market but also other regions across the globe. Investors can explore the available options once they decide on the European country in which they wish to incorporate.