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Company Formation Singapore



Shelf Companies in Singapore

Updated on Thursday 05th January 2023

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By Vlad Cuc, specialist in company formation matters

Singapore is a great investment destination for foreign businessmen that have many possibilities of opening companies in different industries.  Foreign investors can set up a new company or purchase an already registered one. The main advantage of the registered or shelf company, as many people refer to it, is the fact that being registered it does not need to go through the whole incorporation procedure again.
If you are interested in a shelf company for sale in Singapore, our local agents are at your service for guidance in how to choose and purchase one.
 Quick Facts  
  Legal entities available for shelf company

Private limited liability company, public limited liability company

Time required for purchasing the company

A few days

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

 Trading name, statutory documents, corporate account, legal address, tax identification number
The advantages of a shelf company 

Easy to acquire and use, less time spent on administrative tasks, it eases the access to financing with local banks

Appointing new directors (yes/no) YES 
Capital increase allowed (yes/no)


Certificate of no commercial activities (yes/no)


Modify the objects of activity (yes/no) YES 
Participants in the purchase procedure The buyer and the seller 
The cost of buying a shelf company The cost of a shelf company depends on its age (the older it is, the higher the price).

What are the benefits of shelf companies in Singapore?

The first and probably most significant advantage of buying a shelf company in Singapore is the time an investor can save with the incorporation. It is a well-known fact that a company’s reputation is built throughout the years, so investors can choose to buy aged companies that will provide them with the reputation they require. Foreign investors must also know that a wide range of shelf companies are available for purchase and our experts in company formation in Singapore will offer the best solutions available. Clients can consult with our specialists and select between shelf private or public limited liability companies and companies limited by shares. Another benefit of shelf companies is that through them, investors get the possibility of obtaining loans without much effort and finding better business opportunities through a shelf company with an established reputation than by setting up a company in Singapore.
Here are the main advantages of buying a Singapore shelf company:
  • - immediate market entry: compared to when a company is founded from scratch, the owner of the business will be able to get involved in business activities considerably faster.
  • - credibility: one of the top benefits of a shelf firm is that, for credit considerations, other business partners and even banks will view it more favorably due to its seniority.
  • - customization: our experts in company formation in Singapore can assist with tailoring the business to the demands of the client.
  • - time-saving: compared to having to start a brand-new business, the business owner won't have to spend as much time on the transfer procedure.

Singapore shelf companies have many benefits, one of which is the fact that because they are already registered, an investor won't have to waste time going through the incorporation process. 

A shelf company for sale in Singapore is often the choice of those who want to skip the regular formalities of registering a new business. However, if you want to open a company in Singapore and cannot decide between a new and a ready-made one, we can advise on the suitable option. Reserving a trade name with the Accounting and Corporate Regulatory Authority is the first step in setting up a company in Singapore. Our experts advise foreign investors to choose three different names and submit them for Trade Register clearance in order to prevent any issues. This procedure follows the same steps as those for creating any other kind of legal entity recognized by Singapore's Company Law.

What are the features of shelf companies in Singapore?

As ready-made companies in Singapore are registered at the time of the purchase, they will have a name, the statutory documents which will contain the names of shareholders and directors and the secretary. Additionally, Singapore shelf companies are registered with the tax authorities, and thus have a tax registration and a GST number in order to start operating immediately. They will also have a corporate bank account.
Since the Company Law is tailored to provide to the needs of foreign investors, one should know that changing the company structure is possible in Singapore.
Our Singapore company formation consultants can assist in the relation with the Accounting and Regulatory Authority in the city-state by mediating the changes brought to shelf companies.

Legal forms for a shelf company for sale in Singapore

Shelf companies must meet the same requirements as new companies, meaning that they are registered under provisions of the Singapore Company Act prior to be put on sale. The most common legal forms ready-made companies take in Singapore are the private limited liability company and the joint-stock or public company. Among these, the private one is often employed by those who sell such entities, as they can comply with all the legal requirements imposed by the law through very simple procedures.
Shelf companies registered as private limited liability companies in Singapore can be used for setting up businesses in all industries, except for certain sectors of the financial one, such as investment fund where specific requisites must be respected.
 Our company registration agents in Singapore can help foreign investors to purchase various types of ready-made companies. They can also help businessmen interested in setting up new companies in Singapore.

The documents a Singapore company comes upon being sold

Those who want to buy Singapore shelf companies should note that these usually come with:
  • - the Memorandum and Articles of Association which must only be amended,
  • - with the registered address which can be changed or not,
  • - with the tax identification number and the GST number,
  • - the Certificate of Registration and Business Profile.
There are various changes that can be brought, however, some of these are mandatory. For example, the names of the new shareholders must be written in the Articles of Association. Usually, the directors and company secretary are also replaced, however, nominee services are used for quick replacement.
If you are seeking for a shelf company for sale in Singapore, we are at your service in finding the one that meets all your requirements.

Costs for buying a ready-made entity in Singapore

In some circumstances, the price of purchasing a ready-made business in Singapore may be higher than the costs of forming a new legal entity. This is because such businesses have been incorporated for a number of years, thus have track records, which will be significantly more expensive than those that have just been there for a lesser period. Seniority will give a corporation greater credibility with potential Singapore clients as well as with other business partners.
Ideally, a shelf company has not been employed for any previous commercial endeavors. As a result, the new buyer is free to conduct the required business activities with no bad debt.
The key benefit of buying a shelf company for foreign investors continues to be the time savings compared to forming a new firm from scratch. In Singapore, there are numerous opportunities for new businesses to benefit from enticing tax breaks and incentives. This is one of the main factors motivating businesspeople from around the world to establish their companies. If you are interested in setting up a company in Singapore, feel free to address our consultants for guidance on these breaks.

Risks associated with buying a shelf company

Private limited liability entities are among the most popular forms of ready-made businesses that have been incorporated and are offered to overseas investors. In contrast to a public company, this type of enterprise does not need a specific share capital, therefore the new owner must determine the amount required.
Investors who intend to buy an existing business must prepare for any new expenditures that might be involved in the purchase. This is one of the reasons why such an entity will be a more expensive options compared to setting up a company in Singapore from scratch.
Any debts or legal issues that may be connected to the current business are risks that need to be taken into account. For additional information on how to accurately determine whether the shelf company you intend to purchase has all the necessary documentation in order, contact our specialists who deal with Singapore company registration. Before buying a ready-made firm, a company due diligence procedure is helpful. This method can also be utilized for other commercial transactions including mergers and acquisitions.

What are the most common uses of shelf companies in Singapore?

As mentioned above, a Singapore shelf company can be used for various purposes, however, it is usually employed for completing business operations. Aside from this, a ready-made or aged company also has the following uses:
  1. it can be used for relocation by incorporating the history of an existing business into the shelf company bought to operate in Singapore,
  2. it is a good vehicle when seeking to obtain loans from Singapore banks (some banks require an established reputation and history),
  3. it can be used for private-public partnerships with the Singapore authorities for joint projects,
  4. it can be employed for joint venture agreements with other private businesses in Singapore,
  5. it can also be used as a subsidiary for foreign enterprises, however, this is very seldom the case.
If you are interested a shelf company for sale in Singapore, you can obtain information on the steps you need to complete when buying one from our consultants. Furthermore, we can also help you verify the selected entity. We can also advise owners who want to terminate their businesses and liquidate their Singapore companies.
You can also read about how to buy a ready-made company in Singapore in the scheme below:

How is a shelf company registered in Singapore?

The registration procedure of a ready-made company is quite simple in Singapore. Once the investor has chosen the appropriate type of structure and established all the details with the seller, a sale-purchase contract will be prepared, followed by the transfer of ownership. After the contract is signed, our specialists in company registration in Singapore will amend the Articles of Association, if required, and submit it together with the other necessary documents with the Companies Register. Foreign enterprisers must know that they are allowed to appoint a new director and secretary for the recently purchased shelf company according to the Companies Law in Singapore.
If you are seeking for a shelf company for sale in Singapore, do not hesitate to ask for our company formation specialists’ support.

Appointing company officers after acquiring a Singapore shelf company

New company directors are appointed through a relatively straightforward process that entails signing a paper that verifies the resignation of the director in place and names the new director. If the investor is not present, this process can still be accomplished with the aid of a power of attorney.
A new director is appointed right away, and the change is noted in the company's certificate of incorporation, memorandum, articles of association, and other pertinent documents.
After the investor purchases the shelf company, he can also hire Singapore workers there. Foreign investors are allowed to hire foreigners as long as they have work permits or other types of employment passes.
If you decide to set up a company in Singapore starting from scratch, you can rely on our local agents.

What are the services related to buying a read-made company in Singapore?

Foreign investors can ask for additional services when purchasing a shelf company with our company formation representatives in Singapore. We offer a wide range of accounting and nominee services, among which the most sought are the nominee shareholder, director and secretary services. Apart from these, foreign investors can also rely on us if they need virtual CFO services. We can also assist foreign investors when choosing between a shelf or a new company.

Taxation of a shelf company in Singapore

From a taxation point of view, nothing will change when buying a shelf company in Singapore. This means that the business will pay the corporate tax just like any other business. Also, based on the shareholders’ nationalities, Singapore’s double tax treaties can be imposed thus giving the possibility of obtaining various tax deductions and exemption under the provisions of such agreements.
A shelf company for sale in Singapore is one of the simplest ways of starting a business, and our officers are at your disposal for guidance in buying one.

Why choose a shelf company in Singapore?

The necessity of starting operating as soon as possible is what usually drives foreign enterprisers to buy a Singapore shelf company. The reduced amount of time is also one of the greatest advantages when deciding between a shelf company and a new company in Singapore. Another advantage of this type of company is their age: one can incorporate a foreign company’s history in the shelf company and thus gain credibility in front of customers and partners in Singapore. Another advantage of the shelf company is that the investor can bring several changes to the name and structure of the company. Our team of experts in company formation in Singapore can tell you more about the advantages of buying a ready-made company.


Why select to open a new company in Singapore?


Even if the shelf company has great advantages, some foreign entrepreneurs will decide in favor of registering a brand new company. Their decision is usually based on the fact that they can select from the beginning the type of structure they want to use and they also keep in mind the tax benefits they can take advantage of. Another important advantage of a new company compared to a shelf company is the incorporation costs. Buying a shelf company is slightly more expensive than costs related to the registration of a new business


What to choose: a shelf company or a new company in Singapore?

The decision on whether to buy a shelf company or open a new company in Singapore always depends on the investor’s intentions on how to use the entity. If you need specialized assistance in making the right choice you can request the services of our Singapore company formation agents who will provide you with all information about each type of company so you can make an informed decision.


Why start a business in Singapore

Like all countries around the world, Singapore was also affected by the 2020 COVID pandemic, which resulted in a shrink of the economy, however, 2021 brings better prospects for the city-state’s economy. According to Focus Economics:
  • - the Singapore’s government prediction is for an economic increase of 4% to 6% in 2021,
  • - according to Focus Economic’s specialists, Singapore is expected to register and increase of 3.8%,
  • - 2022 is expected to bring a 4.1% growth in the city-state’s Gross Domestic Product.
If you are interested in a shelf company for sale in Singapore, you can send your questions to our advisors.
Find out from the video below why buy a ready-made company in Singapore:
For details on how to set up company in Singapore and prices for shelf companies you can contact our specialists.


Why choose us?

Roger Pay is the Managing Director of Bestar and an experienced company formation consultant. He will help you open your company in Singapore as fast as possible. 


As a Bestar clientyou will benefit from the joint expertise of local lawyers and consultants for opening an offshore company in Singapore.





Call us now at +65 88364489 in order to set up an appointment with our consultants in Singapore


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