A shelf company is one that has been incorporated, and has been sitting on the “shelf” for a certain amount of time without trading or holding any assets or liabilities. This was common practice prior to the inception of online registration, as registering a company then was time consuming and difficult – it was simply much easier to “purchase off the shelf”. Nowadays, with such a streamlined process and the ability to register a company instantly online, there is generally no need to acquire a shelf company.
Fun fact: the original owner of Patricia Holdings pioneered the shelf company concept back in 1968. We are now one of the leading companies to forge this online registration platform and continue to be a leader 50 years on.