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Shelf Companies in Norway

Shelf Companies in Norway

Shelf companies, sometimes called ready-made companies, are already established enterprises, very attractive for investors. Thanks to their business maturity, shelf companies provide several advantages such as the acquiring of bank credits in a faster and more simplified fashion. These companies represent an advantageous option for investors interested in starting their business activities in Norway as fast as possible. Our specialists in company formation in Norway can help businessmen purchase shelf companies in this country

Common legal entities sold as shelf companies in Norway

Foreign investors who want to acquire ready-made companies can choose the legal form of their business, however, the preferred one remains the private limited liability company, thanks to its multiple uses.

When buying a Norwegian shelf company, the most important thing the buyer considers is its age. This characteristic contributes to the future of the entity. Rarely, however, public companies can also be found for sale, but these much more expensive compared to starting new enterprise.

If you are interested in acquiring a shelf company and need support, our local consultants can help you with the formalities associated with the sale.

 Quick Facts  
  Legal entities available for shelf company

Private and public limited liability companies

Time required for purchasing the company

Approx. one week

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

  Legal address, company bank account, director, tax identification number
The advantages of a shelf company

Easy to acquire, different types of entities availability, possibility of choosing old companies

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, it is possible to use the company for various purposes for which new licenses are required.
Participants in the purchase procedure The buyer or representative and the seller
The cost of buying a shelf company The price depends on the type of company selected and its age.

Norway has a booming economy and a stable government, making it a great environment to do business. The Norwegian government provides a number of incentives to aid enterprises in starting out, and there are several chances for entrepreneurs in a wide range of industries. If you decide to open a company in Norway, our specialists can help you.

What does it imply to buy a shelf company in Norway?

Ready-made companies are usually purchased by foreign investors who come to Norway for the first time and want to make sure they have a functional legal entity under which they can start their activities right away. Our company registration agents in Norway usually recommend searching for service providers that sell such businesses before coming to the country in order to speed up the acquisition.

Once a suitable solution has been found, the future owner can sign the sale-purchase agreement through which the shares of the company are transferred from the seller. The procedure is simple, however, after completing the transaction, there are several amendments that need to be made and that must be reported with the Norwegian Companies Register.

Why shelf companies in Norway?

Shelf companies have already a business history when they are acquired by the buyer. This means that the investor doesn’t have to follow anymore the procedures of company registration in Norway. What a shelf company will do for you is to speed up the initiation of your business, by offering you a ready-made usable bank account and a name that, depending on the record and history of the company, may give you a plus of credibility. 

shelf company acquisition means also to skip the time consuming processes of documentation required by the company formation procedure in Norway.   It also comes with a VAT number. VAT registration in Norway implies being attributed a unique identification code. Additionally, the initials “MVA” (VAT) are appended after the business number. Also, it will be found on all business documents as proof that it is registered in the VAT Register. If you need assistance in this procedure, you can rely on our company formation officers.

A well-chosen ready-made company will help you with a rapid construction of your image on Norway’s business market and might as well come with an already trained public, open to the products of your company. 

Procedures of shelf company acquisition in Norway

When deciding to buy a shelf company in Norway, a most important step is the very choosing of this company, according to some criteria:

  • the type of the company (limited liability company or partnership); 
  • • the domain of activity;
  • • how long a history does the company already have (start-ups, established or mature companies).

When you buy a ready-made company and you intent to continue using the initial bank account of the company, you are obliged as well to keep its name. However, if you want to choose another name, then you won’t be allowed to use the same bank account and you will have to open another one.

The next step in the opening of your business is to find a Norwegian company formation specialist in order to help you with the transfer of ownership and the amending of the business code. 

Features of a shelf company

When acquiring a shelf company, one should expect it to come with the following:

  1. a trading name, however, the company can be renamed;
  2. the constitutive documents, which must also be amended;
  3. a tax and VAT number (the VAT number is not mandatory) – The website of the Tax Administration is where the VAT registration in Norway is done. However, due to language barriers, foreign investors may find it difficult to complete the procedure. In this sense, they can rely on our tax agents. They can also count on our company formation consultants for other tax-related services.
  4. a company bank account, which is one of the greatest advantages, as its opening is the lengthiest procedure;
  5. a company director who can be replaced upon the amendment of the documents.

Based on these characteristics, the new owner will need to amend the company’s Articles of Association.

The trading name can be changed, a procedure that is not complicated, however, this will also attract setting up a new bank account on behalf of the new company. The shareholder and director must also be replaced, which will imply amending the Articles of Association followed their filing with the Trade Register.

Shelf companies do not come with business licenses, which is why this a step that must be completed by the new owner and that can take some time depending on the activities to be undertaken.

When coming to Norway, you can also decide on registering a new entity, case in which our company formation experts can help you. We can also start the procedure on your behalf, so that when you arrive you can complete the last formalities before having a ready-to-use business.

How can a ready-made company be used?

The shelf company is a one of the most flexible solutions when it comes to doing business in Norway, as it can be used for any activity as long as there are no restrictions related to foreign ownership in certain economic sectors.

One of the main reasons to buy such a company is that it can be used to transfer the history of a foreign business to it and carryout or, better said, to continue the old company’s activities in Norway. This occurs because of the fact that redomiciliation is not available in Norway.

The ready-made company is also a solution for investors who want to enter private or public partnerships in Norway and that need credibility before their local partners.

Obtaining financing can also be easier when running a business with a history behind it. Considering ready-made companies can be incorporated for up to a few years, they can be used to secure loans with local banks.

If you want to open a company in Norway and need support, our advisors can offer assistance in this sense.

The Norwegian shelf company from a taxation point of view

From accounting and taxation point of view, there are no differences between a new company and a ready-made one. The second, even if registered for up to two years, there are no special requirements to be met, as it had no activity. However, it will be registered with the Norwegian Tax Administration, thus no longer being required to apply for a tax number.

When it comes to taxation, the following levies must be considered:

  • the standard corporate tax rate is 22%, however, financial companies are subject to a 25% rate;
  • the VAT is the second most important tax and is levied at a standard rate of 25%, however, reduced rates of 15% and 12% apply to specific goods and services;
  • withholding taxes are levied at a rate of 25%, however, a 15% rate applies to residents of low-tax states.

Please contact us whenever when you intend to open a company in Norway by the acquisition of a shelf company. Our company formation experts can offer professional consultancy regarding the choice of the enterprise, and they can help you with the transferring of the property rights so that you can initiate your business activities as soon as possible.