Ric Stowe has been dealt a potential lifeline in his on-again off-again bid to reclaim his family's $50 million mansion on the outskirts of Perth, following the sale of his former power station in Collie for $1.2 billion.
In an update yesterday, administrators of the former coal baron's debt-laden empire said his creditors could reap as much as 86ï¿½ in the dollar after the sale of the Bluewaters power station to Japan's Sumitomo and Kansai Electric.
This was an increase from as little as 77ï¿½ estimated in October last year, following the resolution of a series of complex claims on Mr Stowe's assets.
Sources close to the sale of Mr Stowe's lavish Devereaux Farm, which was once priced at $70 million before the financial crisis triggered a slump in its land value, said the power station sale had potentially dealt the former tycoon back into the race to secure the Bullsbrook property.
This is because despite a number of Mr Stowe's former companies under his primary Devereaux Holdings structure still owing about $660 million, it is possible Mr Stowe will emerge with some money via other entities that have not been placed in liquidation.
Mr Stowe is an unsecured creditor of an array of Griffin companies, including Griffin Energy which owned Bluewaters until Friday, and which collapsed under a massive debt load in 2010.
As a Monaco resident, Mr Stowe is also understood to have quarantined his European assets from his Australian operations and, at the very least, the completion of the sale of the last major part of his former empire will give him some clarity over his financial affairs, the sources said.
Creditors will get an interim dividend of about 20Â¢ next month, according to administrators KordaMentha.
Administrators also handed Mr Stowe a potential win, by flagging they would drop a separate legal action to recover about $61.4 million in "tax receivables" owed to Griffin Energy by insolvent Devereaux Holdings. "This strategy is being reconsidered in light of the appointment of liquidators to Devereaux," KordaMentha said.
Mr Stowe's 2700ha property in Bullsbrook, which boasts a polo field and clubhouse, two helicopter pads and private chapel went to auction in November. According to one source, it failed to attract a bid "worth getting out of bed for".
Receivers are said to be in no hurry to sell, given maintenance is paid for by a cattle operation on the farm and likely buyers have been identified should Mr Stowe not be in a position to repurchase.