About shelf companies

What is a shelf company

A shelf company is an already registered company that have met all the company registration requirements with the Companies Registry and have never traded or conducted business and holds no assets or liabilities. They are ready for immediate use and they can be purchased by a person or group of people who wish to start a company without going through all the procedures of registering a new company. Shelf companies can be aged or brand new. In Zimbabwe, most shelf companies are private limited companies (PLC’s) though you can find other company structures such as Private Business Corporations (PBC’s).

Why you would need a shelf company

  • Time might be of essence and you want a company as soon as possible and you cant wait for the 7-9 working days.
  • In Zimbabwe certain business opportunities like some tenders require a company that has a certain age for example in the security sector most tenders require a company that is 3 years or older.
  • To create an appearance that the business has been established for longer than it actually has.

How to acquire a shelf company

Acquiring a shelf company is done by transferring the shares to the buyer. The share transfer process requires a Share Transfer Agreement that needs to be signed by both parties and a notary such as a commissioner of oaths is required to authenticate it.

What documents do you receive when you register a shelf company?

  • Certificate of incorporation
  • Memorandum and articles of association
  • CR 5 (former CR 6) – list of company addresses
  • CR 6 (former CR 14) list of company directors and secretary(s)
  • Share transfer certificates
  • Share certificates
  • Company registers – register of members, register of directors, register of company secretary(s) and register of addresses.


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