Harlequin Management Services (South East), which trades as Harlequin Property has applied at the High Court, to go into administration, according to reports today.
The Essex based overseas investment property has been beset by problems over recent months, including delays in completing developments and a protracted court case in Ireland, whilst many investors have experienced delays in their monthly income payments and refund payments.
Whilst a number of Statutory Demands have been served on Harlequin Property by angry investors, there appeared to be a general desire from all sides to work together to achieve a satisfactory. Indeed a series of meetings were due to take place today in Warrington between Harlequin and their investors; it is unclear whether these meetings will now take place.
A separate meeting was held only yesterday, which included Regulatory Legal, a group of investors and representatives from Harlequin Property to discuss the options available. However, in a statement released today Carole Ames, Director of Harlequin Property, said: “The company is or is unlikely to become able to pay its debts.”
Ames intends to appoint Shipleys LLP, an accountant based in London, as administrators.
“Serious for investors”
Commenting on the move to put Harlequin property into administration, Gareth Fatchett, of Regulatory Legal, said: “This is serious for investors.The Harlequin Investor Group will now be looking at how best to protect investor interests in the Caribbean. An update for investors will be published from www.harlequininvestorgroup.co.uk for investors in the next 24 hours.”
However, a spokesperson for Harlequin said the proposed administration “will not threaten” investments and the Directors are “confident” the company can be restructured.
Speaking to FTAdviser, the Harlequin spokesperson went on to say: spokesperson for Harlequin Property said: “The last few months have given Harlequin the chance to restructure its business to attract new outside investment and develop properties in accordance with the sales made via Harlequin Property.”
“The first stage of this restructure is for the directors to place Harlequin Property into administration via a notice of intention to appoint administrators. ”
“The administration procedure will give Harlequin Property some breathing space and the ability to deal with its challenges.”
“The underlying business model of the Harlequin group is strong and the directors are confident that, with the external finance and property completions anticipated, our investors will see significant development at our resorts in the near future.
The news will dismay thousands of investors who have invested money, often borrowed or from their SIPP (Self-Invested Personal Pension) into the various schemes marketed by Harlequin Property through a network of agents and advisers.
At this early stage it is unclear how the move to send the company into administration will affect investors, although it will certainly add to their anger and uncertainty being experienced by investors, many of whom have committed large sums to the projects.