Thursday 27 November 2008

Larionovo Goes into Receivership

The Irish overseas property industry will be left reeling by another high profile casualty of the current economic crisis and the severe downturn in the Irish economy.

Well known Clare based overseas property agent, Larionovo, shut its doors for the last time on Tuesday evening and let go its 11 staff members based in Ennis and Baggot St., Dublin. The company was formed seven years ago by brother-in-law pairing Raymond Norton and Andrew Brett and had sold vast quantities of product in areas as diverse as Dubai, Hungary, Spain, France, India and Portugal.

The company was well known for its high profile campaigns on TV, radio and in the press, taking the sale of overseas property by an Irish company to a new level. Unfortunately, under current financial realities the company's business model would appear to have become redundant.

It's most high profile market was undoubtedly Dubai, where it strongly marketed developments in Dubai Sports City. The company featured on the front page of the property section of the Sunday Independent, edited by John O'Keeffe, on an extremely regular basis. It is generally accepted that the company had many hundreds of Irish buyers.

Larionovo has spent a good deal of time in the limelight recently for the wrong reasons. It was involved in somewhat of a furore back in July when the Irish Independent published an article declaring "... 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." Larionovo denied the allegations very strenuously and an apology was forthcoming from the newspaper but it's goose has since been cooked. No doubt the Indo will be anxious to report on the current chain of events.

The company was also the main Irish agent for Martinsa-Fadesa, the giant Spanish builder which filed for bankruptcy during the summer.

Larionovo has also been the source of much frustration, vented liberally on the Joe Duffy show last week, with relation to several projects in India that it decided to abandon. Purchasers in the Green Valley, Hill View and Cape Corinth projects, by developer Sigrun, have been promised refunds of their initial deposits, but many have not materialised yet and investors are, understandably, getting very worried. The subject is also the cause of much posting on various threads on the Ask About Money forum.

Larionovo's demise should not actually make much difference to clients who bought through them, as the company didn't build any property. All contracts should be with the developers from whom the property was bought and so, presuming the developers are capable of building the projects, should still complete. Clients will, however, obviously not receive any supplementary services which might have been provided by the agent such as furnishing, rentals, etc. There is also the worry that, with the agent now out of the loop, Sigrun may decide not to refund deposits collected by it. Only time will tell.

The receiver appointed is Grant Thornton. The message at time of posting, being shown on the Larionovo homepage is:

"Please be advised that Paul McCann was appointed Provisional Liquidator of Larionovo Limited on Tuesday November 25th. We are currently trying to establish the position of the investors with regard to the Indian development project. Please email the following details:

Your: 1) Name
2) Address
3) e-mail details
4) Amount of money invested

Kindly note that we will contact you by email by 12 December 2008 with an update on the position."

An independent buyers group has also been formed for those with issues regarding Larionovo's Indian products. For further information email Karen Marshall on

Any way you look at it this is another large nail in the Irish overseas property industry coffin which leaves no doubt as to just how fragile the market is at this point in time.

This isn't the end for Norton and Brett in terms of overseas property. The pair are also directors of Profile, a Dubai based company which is currently working on development work in the Emirate and has also been instrumental in the purchase and ongoing development of the islands of Ireland and Thailand in The World development in the Arabian Gulf.

There is a link to this story on our website here.

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