The Irish Independent ran an article last Saturday in which it claimed that Ireland's biggest overseas property agent, Larionovo, was to 'shut up shop'.
The pieces says: "Another announcement, which sent ripples across the industry this week, was news that Larionova, the biggest and most high profile of the Irish foreign property agents, is also to shut up shop, amid difficulties getting payment from developers."
This news came as somewhat of a surprise to us as we get press releases from Larionovo quite regularly and would be very surprised if we missed one, particularly one this big. We therefore contacted the company for clarification and Larionovo (not Larionova as quoted in the piece) is absolutely livid. It claims it is taking the Indo to court over it as it claims no such announcement was ever made and that Larionovo will not be closing its offices.
You'll find the article in question here. Oh dear indeed.
It is possible that the Indo got wind that Larionovo is returning deposits paid on property in India, added two and two together and got a couple of million. Larionovo claims it is not convinced that individuals can get their profits out of India as easily as it would like. It has therefore offered investors their money back, plus 20%, and is, instead, going to launch the project through a syndicated vehicle to enable the repatriation of funds.
Larionovo has been in the news for a variety of reasons recently as it is also the main Irish agent for Fadesa, one of Spain's largest builders, which filed for protection from its creditors last week. Larionovo claims that all its clients will be fine as the company ensured they all had bank guarantees, therefore the bank has already guaranteed that either the properties will get built or the purchasers will get all their money back.
Tough week just the same.
Larionovo update, November 2008, available here.