Shelf company

Hello all, I wish to buy a French shelf company - Any tips who to turn to?

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Hello Stella! I shall update my profile yes, sorry

Fine… but perhaps you are not able to do so… since I note it has not changed in over half an hour…

Please give your full name here and I can amend your Registration in a flash… :wink:

Do they exist in France ?


Peter, I think (but am not sure) that Purchasing a “shelf” company is not a common practice in France and the formation of a new company is, in most cases, preferred when establishing a business here. :thinking:

Certainly I don’t think it’s as common in France as in some other countries, possibly because AFAIK companies here can only remain dormant for up to two years before they are automatically struck off. But I think it can be done. It would mainly be of interest to foreigners.
Companies for sale are advertised online eg at but you will find lots of similar websites from google - a shelf company is a "société préconstituée. The sale would go through an avocat d’affaires or an accountant so if you have a preferred area of France you could contact avocat and expert comptable firms in that area.

I see there is a UK shell company listed on the above website!

My first thought was Ikea :joy::joy:


Mine was a whelk company. Several on the Normandy coast are in difficulties. Global warming has ruined the little (shell-enclosed) darlings’ libido.

Does shelf company mean ‘off-the-shelf’ company, or is it a shell company with ear-muffs?

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Oh - I thought it must mean it was on the shelf all lonesome and waiting for its soul mate to come along :grin:

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Hi all, Stella, I am not on computer all the time :slight_smile: Anyhow, yes it would be best for me to buy “an easy solution”, a shelf company, sitting on shelf to find someone who loves her/him, I have one company in Finland, but because of my son I wish to establish one here in France, too, to be stable for him. We have been living in France since he was 6, proud to be Finnish, but not in Finland <3

A good accountant would also be good to find, not too expencive,

I thank you all, ps. I love shells, too

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Why not just set one up from scratch? Or be an autoentrepreneur?

Hi Sari

For you, as a European, opening a company in France is quite straightforward.

Have you actually tried going the standard route and come across any problems ??

Re Accountants (and other Experts)… frankly, I reckon one normally gets what one pays for… a good Accountant will expect to be paid a decent sum. :thinking: Why not approach a few well respected Accountants and ask for a quote… then weigh them up and make your choice. …

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No, I need a company, not autoentrepreneur, ok, thanks for all your advice anyhow, great Saturday and weekend to you all

Fine… if you need a Company… speak with a Notaire and ask advice on how to proceed.

this link may be outdated, but gives you an idea…

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They do not do shelf companies in France unless it is a friend of your who wants to close the business.
The main problem is that if their are any debts you would become liable.
A new company is the bestrode but this depends upon your needs as if its just you then you needs SARL or if they’re are others then you need a SAS.
Please remember that closing a company is expensive, so i would suggest that you speak to a account, and yes it will cost you about 3k but cheaper in the long run.

Sometimes they do

there’s a little Powerpoint presentation all about it.

Unless I am misunderstanding the term, shelf company is one that has never traded (société préconsitutée) as opposed to a shell company (société coquille vide) which has traded in the past but has gone dormant.

The OP clearly has a specific plan in mind, I think the main thing to be aware of is that in France a shelf company has a very short shelf life because normally after two years with no activity, companies are struck off. You couldn’t for instance buy a company now and keep it on ice for a few years until you are ready to start business.

I actually thought it was a self storage company… with racks of shelves :face_with_hand_over_mouth:

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Mmm… sounds like an Avocat is necessary for a “shelf co” … which will certainly cost more than a Notaire… and Sari is obviously looking to keep costs down

So, perhaps the “ordinary route” might prove best for Sari after all.

Shelf companies (as in pre-registered off-the-shelf companies we know about in the UK) do not exist in France.

What do you want to achieve as that will influence the advice people can give you .